No Leaves in November

The trees are barren this time of year. I really don’t like it. There’s no comfort in the world without leaves. Sharp wind stings my cheek. This wouldn’t happen if there were leaves. I guess I deserve this for being here. I watched the smoke from my cigarette lift away, traveling into the atmosphere for strangers to breath in Ohio. I don’t know why I assumed it would be Ohio. Any Midwestern state would suffice. This sentiment made me feel bad about smoking. Not because I knew my lungs were slowly being consumed by toxins I couldn’t pronounce, but because someone else would have to breath my air. I did it anyways. I guess my value for human life isn’t exactly up to standards nowadays.

She’s leaving on the train the next day. I have a strange nostalgia for old-timey train stations. I picture soldiers from the ’40s leaving their mothers, wives, and daughters when I’m in the station. Some of them returned. Some of them didn’t.

I’m now picturing tomorrow. I picture her boarding, and the wheels consciously taking her away from me. The coal’s black smoke will rise into the air, dancing like the devil, laughing at me as I try to see her one more time between the bars. It will slowly dissolve into the sky, traveling miles and miles, mocking me all along the way, until it ends up in the lungs of young man, somewhere in the Midwest.

Today. She sits there on the porch next to me, unfazed by the wind that has me inhaling the cigarette to keep me warm. She stares straight ahead. I stare at her, waiting for her reaction. Her lips begin to move; “So there’s this frog sat on the side of a river, and a scorpion comes up to him and asks if he can get on his back to cross the river, and obviously the frog doesn’t want to take him across because he thinks he’s going to sting him. So after much persuasion the frog agrees and the scorpion climbs up on his back, and halfway across the frog gets stung by the scorpion. The frog asks ‘why the fuck did you do that, now we’re both going to die’ and the scorpion says, ‘it’s just in my nature’. Tell me you love me one more time.”

And just like that, a pain stabbed in my heart, as it did every time someone I loved leaving in the opposite direction in this too huge world.

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