Saturday Short: Fallen Maple Leaves

photograph of fallen maple leaves on the sidewalk

“Leaves fall every year. It’s what they do. It’s why it’s called fall,” her sister said with an exasperated tone, the one she saved for Heather when their mother was out of earshot.

Heather shrugged. It was the safest reply. She wasn’t stupid. She knew why it was called fall. Though, is she were asked, Heather would have told her sister that she preferred to call the season autumn. It sounded prettier.

Luckily though her sister became distracted by a group of kids on the other side of the street from her school and forgot what she was about to say as she walked away. Heather was an afterthought, which was fine by her. That’s how she felt in her family most of the time anyway. She turned her attention back to the fallen leaves on the sidewalk, slicked down by the night’s rain.

She couldn’t read what they were saying, yet, but she would. Heather knew it in her heart. The leaves almost seemed to form letters that swirled in front of her eyes, but then she blinked and they were gone. It was frustrating and Ms. Willow was gone this weekend, stocking up in the mountains was how she put it when Heather asked. The other kids called her Old Witch Willow, but Heather thought that was mean because people made fun of witches, which they shouldn’t do.

“Come on, Heather, we’re going to be late!” Her sister was doing that annoyingly dramatic tapping of her wrist to make her point as the other kids laughed and waved goodbye. Her sister didn’t even wear a watch.

“Coming!” Heather glanced at the leaves one last time before standing up and running to catch up with her sister who had already turned her back to walk home.

She didn’t see the leaves swirl behind her and rearrange themselves on the ground. But they could wait. She would be back.

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