What was it about the month of September that brought about feelings of sadness and emptiness? Olivia Moreau thought to herself as she sipped on a sweetened coffee.
The cool fall air caused shivers along the exposed part of her neck underneath her knit scarf, making her delve deeper into the soothing warmth of the hot beverage. She was wearing a leather jacket, her knit scarf and a light tee with jeans and boots, enough to keep the chill at bay but still feel the cool air against her skin.
She was sitting on a bench in the park in the middle of the city, where mothers with strollers, elderly couples and business people with brief cases passed by every so often. Right now, it was quiet and empty.
Just what she liked.
She enjoyed going for walks in the crisp morning weather, after the September fog had faded and sunshine warmed her skin despite the damp in the air. It meant pumpkin pie and crunchy leaves and warm hot chocolate. Yes, she found an excuse to drink hot chocolate before the winter months.
The season of summer had gone: no cold, caramel-drizzled frappes, no soft, dry sand underneath her feet, no sweltering heat that parched the mouth and body.
It was now the season of changes.
Changes in her life.
She was going to graduate school, which would start in the next few days. He had found a job in Vancouver, right after university.
Olivia watched as the wind scattered red, orange and yellow leaves, changing their place in the world.
Did I make the right decision? she thought. Will it be something I come to regret?
Things won’t be the same. Everything changes in September. People think spring signifies a new beginning but it’s really fall that does. People come back from vacation, people change jobs, people enter a new school year or job, and people break up, she thought.
Like she and Mark had.
She took another sip of her coffee and looked down at her wrist to look at the time. But when she did, it wasn’t the time she noticed.
It was the bracelet, snugly hugging the watch.
Gold and dainty with small trinkets, it was a favourite bracelet of hers. He had given it to her on her birthday. She touched the bracelet–it was cool to the touch, just like the lake water had been against her feet…
They had driven out to a small, quiet town an hour from the city for her birthday. It had the best ice cream in the province, made from milk that came from local farms. It also had a great lakeside view, where people sailed, lounged on the beach and dined in nearby restaurants, watching the sun set over the water.
She was touched at his thoughtful and loving idea. They had a great time: eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, running away from the ice-cold water of the lake, walking hand-in-hand along the streets, lined with Victorian-style houses and gardens bursting with flowers. She remembered a strange house in particular; one that had been a carriage house, converted into a small house…
The buzzing of Olivia’s phone suddenly caught her attention. She looked down: MESSAGE. She swiped the screen upwards to view it as her heart pounded wildly.
Was it him? Was he texting her to say that he wanted to get back together?
She opened it to see that it was her friend and her racing heart calmed.
How are you doing? Is everything okay? the message read.
She sighed and noticed the time: 12:00 p.m.
His plane would have landed by now at 9:00 a.m. in Vancouver.
Her eyes clouded with tears–the only rain in the crisp autumn afternoon.
This story was actually inspired by a paint swatch, which I then used as a writing prompt. I really love autumn because of all the colours, crisp weather and cozy clothes. My mother always says the season makes her feel a little bit sad because the leaves die and fall off trees, despite it being her favourite season as well. So that always evokes a melancholy feeling in me about fall.