Valerie began to sense something was about to happen. She didn’t know exactly what but she felt alive and euphoric. She felt the cool breeze while taking her morning stroll; she no longer felt hot and drained from the heavy humidity. As she continued to walk, she couldn’t help from noticing the foliage on the trees had taken on a yellowish orange color that happened overnight. Something was about to happen. The brisk autumn wind reminded her when she was a little girl growing up in the rural south when she ran back and forth to her grandmother’s house into the woods down a narrow rocky path surrounded by countless tall pine and oak trees.
She now glazes out of her window to see the woodlands that surround her. She thinks, something is about to happen. Then she remembers years earlier when her mother would be in the kitchen baking apple pies, apples she harvested from the family trees the previous year. She remembers how her family backyard was covered with orchard of apples and not to mention the fig bush and grape vines. The smell of this new season of autumn forced her to reflect on those earlier and loving years.
Valerie would meet many male companions in her life after graduating from high school, yet for some odd reasons, her courtship would almost always end during the autumn season. The new season now takes on a different meaning. The brisk cool winds and the colorful leaves no longer symbolize happiness but a time of isolation and rejection.
Ken was a very gregarious tall and handsome young man, and all of the waitresses sought after him. Valerie and Ken both worked closely together at an Italian Restaurant. Ken worked as a short order cook and Valerie was one of many waitresses. The other waitresses would often flirt with Ken, but for some reason, he was not interested in any of them. However, he was attracted to Valerie. Perhaps it was the way she conducted herself or maybe she presented herself as a challenge. Ken liked to be challenged. He played forward on the basketball team during high school, and he was a brilliant tennis player.One evening upon the closing of the restaurant, he got up enough nerves to ask Valerie out on a date. It caught her off guard; she consented to go out with him the following weekend.
It was the beginning of fall and Valerie went back and forth trying to decide what to wear on her first date with Ken. She was excited and honored because he asked her out. Finally she decided to wear a simple floral dress with a light sweater. He picked her up at her house at 8 0’clock sharp in his small convertible mustang. They went to the hottest spot in town, a restaurant that had an adjacent dancehall.
They talked over dinner mostly about their upbringing. Ken couldn’t keep his eyes off of Valerie. There were many attractive girls who would walk by their table, but Ken’s eyes never wavered. After eating, they went to the dancing area where they danced until almost closing time. It was then time for the date to end. As Ken entered Valerie’s driveway he extended his hand and commented how much he enjoyed the evening. They embraced and said farewell. He explained he would not be at work the following day because he was going on vacation to visit his family up north.
The next day Valerie went to work very happy because she had gone out with the most sought after man in the workplace. But after a week Ken did not return to work and weeks turned into months. Finally months later, Valarie learned Ken married his childhood sweetheart and would not be returning.
Now each time when she sees assorted colors of the leaves, the cool breeze in the early morning hours, the flying ducks that heading toward the south, all remind Valerie this is the beginning of a new season in her life.