People often talk of the Autumn as a beautiful phenomenon of nature, but I can not bear to look beyond the death and decay that plague the season. Death, of course, is of such a nature that it is overlooked even as it is impending, beckoning all with one black finger of oblivion. It wears the patient smile of a champion, knowing that it will claim each one for itself in the end. Decay, the sister, is no less clever, appearing to trail behind death while in reality she lays hands to the soul and hollows it out long before death can touch the body. Autumn is just an elaborate dance of the victors who know their competitors are so fated that they hold no chance.
The autumn of my life has fast approached. My gut tells me that my consciousness of it right now is the last green leaf on the tree.
Perhaps it is age that makes me so painfully aware of the existence of the stench of Autumn – it fills my lungs and the places that exist apart from my physical self – even as I exhale. The naïve and uncorrupted once had a habit of coming to me for counsel, because I must know a lot having lived for so long, and their words often sent me into rambles of thought which made me curse sides of me from the past that no longer existed. I had no heart to tell them – or myself – that I have lived more in the safe arms of my dreams than I have lived my life.
Now, I am no longer sought for counsel, and even if I am, I cannot tell.
My head is always abuzz with thoughts racing against each other like trains on either side of the subway station, and of late, I have been letting go of them. I miss the trains. I no longer hold on to the stories that my mind knits together like sweaters to warm my freezing soul, I no longer note them down. I refuse my stories to the world, letting them decompose in the heat of my own head. Sometimes they recede to the place where thoughts go when they are no longer thought of, indiscernible like radio static. Sometimes I don’t know how to describe this because the words are wiped off my vocabulary. Decay is getting the better of me. Sometimes I can feel it as it hollows my mind.
I think too much when I find myself able to. I think about the lifetime of thinking that will be lost when I die – of course I think about dying a lot, and I imagine my undocumented thoughts turn to nothingness like millions of twinkling stars being sucked into a black hole. My eyes give way to involuntary tears that fall on my cheek like comma splices, punctuating each line in the train of thought which I can see myself failing to chase. I tell her about this and she says it makes no sense to worry. She asks me to say her name. I stay silent because I cannot tell her that her name is one of the first things that got lost in that wretched black hole.
A boy with her eyes takes me from my bed to an armchair by the window every afternoon. I try to remember who he is every time he whispers ‘I love you’, but I recall nothing. I try not to look beaten and smile at him this time, hoping that he understands. Beyond the glass pane of the window, I can see the fallen leaves glittering under the glow of the sun. To my eyes it appears a sorry sight, the aftermath of the grand feast hosted by atrophy. A couple of leaves are whisked from the ground by the wind, the messenger that calls upon death to arrive and take its toll. It is indeed age that makes me so aware of the stale breath of Autumn, and perhaps the fact that it is all around me. Maybe I can smell decay because it has taken root inside of me.
The signal for the approaching train goes off in my head as I blink my eyes. I observe my thoughts turning to incoherent screams and then to radio static. In the last few moments I have in my state of consciousness, I am scared of losing control of my mind. I think of the irony of my situation and my hand starts to tremble again. As I stare at another leaf fall from the tree outside my window, I can feel myself float away – away and towards the sun, like a hot air balloon on a whim to be a rocket.