Mirrors

The wind blows differently in autumn. It carries a sense of anticipation as the world changes, infuses the air with palpable desire as the leaves dance mischievously from the branches. There is a tension inherent in the changing of seasons, but fall is the final burst of glory before the winter chill takes hold, the burning spark to light the way through the lengthening nights.

I knew a boy, once, who tasted like autumn. His hair blazed and scorched my skin, and he radiated the heat of a slow, tempered fire. When I think of him, I catch a glimmer of anticipation as the world around me shifts, unaware. I remember him in aubergine wine and the forest at midnight, catch the scent of him in the perfume of the wet leaves rotting beneath a fallen log. My porous skin absorbs the anticipation and I drink it in deep and slow, letting the warmth infuse my fingertips until I can draw the image of him in black-and-white typeset.

It’s the little things I cannot forget. The slow, steady burn of uncertain eyes deciding, losing their ambiguity as he leans forward, bringing his lips to mine. The small moments of touch, fingertips brushing as we pass a lighter back and forth in the sanctuary of the night. The steady beat of our footsteps, wayward waterfalls pounding against abrasive concrete pathways, carrying us down and away from these city lights. Caught staring, he drops his eyes, drains the dredges of an empty beer and looks up with an apologetic smile. Bums a cigarette.

These memories give birth to anthills in my intestines, a discomforting combination of excitement and nerves building to a crescendo, pounding against a façade of apathy. His face creeps into my mind, an unexpected bolt of lightning that binds to my blood and courses through my veins, electrifying the air within my lungs with kinetic heat. I struggle against this current, desperate to build a dam before the water rises too high. My strength is my downfall: my emotions overwhelm my senses, and I cannot hold my ground against this torrent.

Would that I could lend my eyes, to paint the world in the rust and crimson of the autumn leaves, the cobalt of rushing water, the hazel gaze of the crepuscular forest. But I do not have an artist’s hand or a painter’s touch; I have a writer’s heart, and I remember with all the passion that language can offer. If my memory is biased, I blame my eyes; they paint the world against the backdrop of the mountains, and omit the angry concrete at my feet in favor of the autumn wind blowing at my side.

We should all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirrored eyes of another, ignore the flaws we intrinsically amplify to find that we are beautiful to someone. There is a boy I know whose skin glows against a crimson backdrop, who burns the color of burnt umber and washes my tongue in the heat of the flammable, whiskey nights. There is a boy I know, who I do not know, for whom I render these words, bringing them forth with shaking lips. I remember too much and I feel too hard, and with shaking vulnerability, I give voice to feelings like hurricanes, leaving me trembling and unsure where the ground will fall when the sun rises in the morning. I would lend him my eyes that he could see himself anew, but eyes do not lend themselves lightly and the current can hold so long as it is sustained; the rapture of language quickly dries from a raging flood to a shallow pool. So I meld these words into crooked mirrors, bent and unsure, to reflect an image to a boy that I know, that I do not know, that I want to know, who tastes like autumn and makes me smile.

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