Junior high school was something, huh? To anyone else, I would have been nothing more than a loser, lunching all alone at my Table of Solitude. But, not to you. Since I had found myself to be the odd one out, you were the first to invite me in from the cold shoulders and demeaning air that stirs around one of those empty tables.
You sat with the bad kids, but you never belonged there. No, I don’t know how you ended up there. A gorgeous amethyst cast before swine. With courage and healing, you touched me, brought me in from the cold. With that single touch, you brought my eyes to you. But, whenever you glanced my way, I was shy and turned away.
I remember the day I sat across the table from you. We were surrounded by the others, too. When my drink slipped down the wrong pipe, I tried to hold it down, but instead sprayed milk over everyone around. It seemed like you got the worst of it. I felt so bad, but you just smiled. You laughed about it. Such a beautiful laugh and a wonderful smile.
Fifteen years has not taken the edge off that memory, and fifty more could not.
I wish I had not been so caught up in my own problems of the time. Days passed, and I did not open my heart to you; I could not, would not, speak my thoughts to you. Even when we sat alone at that lunch table one day, just you, just me.
They’d upset you, I don’t know who. You told me they didn’t like you. You asked, “What’s wrong with me?”
I don’t remember what I said, probably, “Nothing is wrong with you.” It was not what I should have said. What I should have said was, “Autumn, if someone doesn’t like you, there is something wrong with them.” I could have said so much, I could have let you know how much I cared for you! But damn the times! Damn their lies! Damn the black solitude that sealed my mouth!
You cried, I remembered. I didn’t know how to respond. I was there for you as a friend. But I should have told you then that if no one wanted you, I would have you. I would cherish you, protect you, and love you unconditionally. To be the hero I dreamt I was in my romantic fantasies. To take your hand and pull you close to me; to show you how little they mattered and how much you did matter; to slay any notion that you were not good enough in your mind; to change the course of events and cruel hands of fate.
But, at fifteen, I was a coward! My hands stayed dead-cold still; my feelings shut up in my useless mouth. I thought there would come a day.
But the days passed, Autumn, didn’t they. The days passed so slow in my mind, but, now, so fast in my memory. I kept my eye on you when you were turned away. autumn turned to Winter, and Winter into Spring. Spring into Summer, and Summer into You again.
I followed you then, pressing myself. Ask her. Ask her out. So what if she says no. Ask her out. Closer and closer I came; I found moments alone with you, but could not utter the words. I listened to your problems; they seemed so many, but what I had to say was so important maybe it would change that. Why would I not say what I needed to say! Autumn drew nearer the end. I thought there would come a day.
But the depressed leaves died on their branches and fell from the trees. They spiraled down and down, and I could not see them; I could not catch them. I could not catch Autumn in my hands, could not pull Autumn into my arms, could not keep Autumn warm from the impending Winter.
autumn was gone, and so too were you. Winter killed autumn, and Autumn killed you. They put you in a coffin and buried you in the snow. My arms lost all chance to keep you warm, to keep you from harm, and I was left to keep only your memory.
I could have saved you! Had only I known. If only I had spoke my heart to you! Damn me for the coward I was then! I could’ve done something!
The years go by, Autumn, and still I cannot forget you. They say not to blame ourselves, but how can I be so certain had I done else? You, Autumn, hold my only regret. That only regret that I keep locked away because it hurts so bad! If only I had reached out to you then… I learned something that day: to never let pass a moment that I will live to regret. Never again, Autumn.
autumn turns to autumn turns to autumn, I will never forget you, Autumn.
No More Regrets,
autumn comes and goes each year, but the Autumn I know always remains.
In memory of Autumn Davis.