Fall Crossing

The air is cool, and cold enough so that each exhale comes in the form of a fluffy cloud. The color of the leaves has changed to a withered but mellow yellow that's not quite as gold as the light that falls on the street in heavy slabs. Long shadows, made longer still by the autumn, drape over places where the pedestrians move, and leads them on down the sidewalks into gray canyons where the chill rises enough to cause discomfort.

She walks there, beside me in boots that are just high enough for the season. A long coat hugs her frame with more intimacy than I ever could, and causes much distraction. Her long hair blows thick and free with each turn of her beautiful head. Her eyes are colder than the atmosphere that we've bundled ourselves against, and that's reason enough to love her as hard as I do.

We're seeking shelter from the encroaching dusk, for soon the sun will dip below the horizon and the temperature will fall to intolerable levels. We cross one of the many rivers that cut through the great city, and pause halfway over the pedestrian bridge. She stares out over the slowly moving water, with her elbows folded over the handrail. I have no idea what she's contemplating there. All of my attention is diverted by the bloated corpse of a bird that's met some unfortunate end, and now drifts on a languid current out to sea. It passes under the bridge and I don't care to follow it to the other side. I wrap my arms around her shoulders instead. I put my face next to hers, my warm cheek to her icy one, and drink in the heady scent of her skin.

I could live there forever in that moment, but she could not. Accepting a gentle kiss, she pulls away and laughs.


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