Any Place We're Almost Leaving

Just a day earlier and I would have been the child of an ancient summer. But I was born at a funeral. Trees shed browns and murky yellows - I recall no bright, bursting red or oranges (the dusky city centre mightn't have been the best place for these) - and mournful clouds overhung every date on our cheap, off-white calendar. My earliest childhood is a kaleidoscope of off-colours and just-out-of-date foods, and always a feeling of having just missed something important. Autumn is timeless; leaves stuck on pavements with barely-chewed gum. A birthday, every year, never feeling older. We used to have a cat. We used to live in a flat that lurched, unsteady, just on the crest of the hill. We used to have one of those hideous green baths. I know because there are pictures to prove it.

It's autumn again, and now I have things to look forward to. Alcohol to numb my tongue and burn my throat. Bonfires, clearance sales. Memories to make your eyes water; crimson fireworks that flare with certainty. There's nothing nebulous about autumn if you do it this way. Regulate, take deep breaths. Drink more water. Whizz, bang, show's over. I kick leaves because they're in my way; spit on lampposts whose orange light spills over with too much zeal. My ears pop. I own autumn, I think.

The End

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