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April 15, 2024


By Lydia Manx

A scattering of autumn leaves

At first the leaves were alive. And then they danced on the winds and scented the air with their death. Crunching underneath my feet they became bits of dust and dirt. Summer was a mere memory. My backpack wasn't overly full the day the seasons changed.

My class was supposed to go to the aquarium. My mom had forgotten to sign my permission slip -- usual. It wasn't important to her so she didn't bother. I had left it out on the counter with a pen. It was still unsigned when I went to catch the bus. Library time for me it would seem.

God, being a kid sucked. The one time that I faked my mom's signature I got caught and punished so I wasn't going to try that again. Not like the aquarium was that new, but it beat listening to my teacher drone on and on about stupid history.

I took too long dawdling in the freshly fallen leaves. The bus ran early for a change and by the time I made it to the sign it was mere lights in the distance. Nobody else was late but me. I shrugged and headed back to give my dad the good news that he got to take me to school. He wasn't my real dad, so he couldn't sign the permission slip. And he wasn't even married to my mom so I guess I should call him 'Lenny' not 'dad'. But I wasn't allowed to by my mom. She said it wasn't 'respectful' calling him Lenny.

Well, I called him Loser Lenny behind his back. Mom may have caught something in my tone and picked up on the name. Or Cary told her. Cary was a fink. But then most little brothers are, I've been told.

Thinking of that, I took a minor detour. It wasn't like Lenny was awake yet. What with it being before noon and all. My teacher would be too overwhelmed with everyone and the trip to notice me missing for a while. If not, I didn't want to be there when Lenny got the call from the secretary.

I kicked at a rock that was in the middle of the pathway leading down to the lake. It was not the right size for skipping so I wandered away from the hard packed dirt trail and began to look under the trees. I kicked at the fallen leaves looking for good skipping rocks. Most the flat ones were gone from the shoreline and I had started picking up the ones left in the forest since mid-July. Some were covered with dirt and muck but most of them skipped at least five times.

I found a bunch underneath an old tree and put them in my nearly empty backpack. The lake was choppy and I had to walk halfway around until I found a quieter part. The cove wasn't usually my favorite place to skip rocks because nobody ever saw you. But since everybody was at school, I figured it didn't matter.

The wind smelled like leaves and earth. I found a good spot and began to line up on a spot in the middle of lake. I knew I would never get that far but it was a nice blue place. As the sky grew gray, I spent the day skipping school and rocks into the fall.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-10-16
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