He always felt like fall was too short. It was the best season he thought, and yet the shortest. He liked to watch the leaves turn slowly from green to yellow. He liked it when they fell from the branches like a beautiful golden death. He had always hoped that death was something like the fall, where everything got increasingly more beautiful until all that was left were skeletons.
Fall was elusive. Every year he tried to go to corn mazes and pumpkin patches and make apple cider and carve jack-o-lanterns. He liked to remove the seeds from inside the pumpkin, wash them, put them on a tray and bake them. It was tradition. Why, he was never sure, for even with the salt they never tasted exceptionally good, and it was really just a lot of work. But every year, he only managed to do one of these things, if that. He was always busy. Something always came up. Sometimes he had no one to do these things with. Most times. As an adult, he felt one could miss certain holidays, even whole seasons, with barely a second thought. As an adult, things got more practical. Rather than focusing on the way the smoke from the chimneys mixed with the cold grey air, he would think of how much firewood he would need for the winter. He would wonder how much it would snow. Would it be more or less than last year? Would he need another shovel? He would. He would need two shovels.
Fall was also intemperate. Some days it would be eighty degrees and sunny and green and then it would hit thirty and snow and all the leaves would drop in less than an hour. There was not enough time to enjoy it he thought. All he wanted was for a solid two weeks of fifty degree weather, yellow leaves on all the trees, and tiny bit of snow to top off the mountains. But this usually never happened. It would swing from eighty and summer to winter, to spring and back again during these two weeks. It should be noted that he lived in a mountain climate where things change fast.
He tried to think of a way to enjoy the fall more this year. Really soak it up. He asked friends if they wanted to go to corn mazes and they either said no, I have to work, or I already went with my daughter last week. He realized calling his adult friends would not work. He decided to call his adult friends who had children. He was not a creeper, but he did know that children knew better than adults how to enjoy holidays and seasons. As a child, he had always spent two weeks prepping for each holiday. For Christmas there were the rings to tear off for the forty days of Christmas and stories about the real history of St. Nick. For thanksgiving they colored pictures of Sacajawea and learned about pilgrims and the Mayflower. Now he had none of this.
He lived alone, on Forty-second Street. He lived alone by choice. But it was not his choice, it was fates choice he thought, fates choice that he should be living alone when he wanted to live with someone else, a wife, or even a good friend, to do things with on holidays.
Just to carve a pumpkin or take a stroll through aspen trees with golden leaves. That would be enough he thought. That would be enough.