My sneakers crunch against
The dead leaves that are scattered
On the ground, the crisp autumn air
Nipping at my cheeks, biting
On my ears.
The world is silent except
For the sound of my feet scratching at
The gravel on the side of the road,
A small break in the deafening
Silence that engulfs my neighborhood.
The scent of autumn takes me
To another time. I look to my
Right and see a younger version
Of myself, frolicking in the multi-colored
Leaves on the ground, dumping
Handfuls into the hair
Of my sister.
My dad, who still has a head
Full of hair, points the leaf
Blower at me and sets it off,
Blowing away the tiny particles
Of the leaves that had stuck to me.
I turn to my left and see my
Mother, who still has that ratty old
Turtle neck, raking the leaves with
A triumphant look on her face as
She steps back and examines the growing
Pile of leaves that she is creating.
My younger brother, still a baby,
Crawls to the leaf pile and dives in
Face-first. My mom and dad rush over
To pull him up again while my sister
And I toss the leaves into the air,
Letting them scatter on our heads and shoulders.
My brother is now sitting upright on the
Ground, clutching an earthworm in
His grubby fingers. My mother screams
When she sees it, and my dad
And I laugh at her reaction.
The laughter fades, as does
The younger version of my
Family. The leaves flutter to
The ground, and a gust of wind hits
Our leaf tower, making it topple to the ground
And spread over the lawn again.
I am alone, walking with my
Hands in my pockets as
The brittle leaves crinkle under my
Feet. Goose bumps prickle
On my arms as the chilly autumn
Breeze brushes by my skin.
I inhale the fresh, sharp
Air that surrounds me. A
Wave of nostalgia nearly knocks
Me over, and I stop to take it all in.
After a few moments, I resume
My walk again, but this time in my
Mind. Cautiously, warily, I peek
Through the folds of my memory,
Where I store the thoughts that
I never want to forget.