I walk, the leaves crunching under my feet, breaking into tiny filaments of flaming crimson, orange, gold, brown... And still I walk that well-known path, the trees casting fingers of shadow over my course, what is left of their foliage rattling in the breeze. And I can't sort things in my mind. I can't make sense of it all. The brook plays soft music to my ear, trying to calm me, sooth me with the sounds of the forest.
Will he remember me? All our visits, me making tea, him telling stories--all written down in the red-bound journal clutched under my arm. Will he recall my face? How he used to laugh at my blunders when trying to make the perfect cup of tea? "Boil the water first, then measure the tea. Let steep for exactly three minutes--any longer and it's too strong, shorter and it's too weak..." I can hear his voice clear and plain in my head as his wrinkled hands poured our drinks into cracked mugs. His hair was grey, would it be white now? And would he even remember my book? The one I was writing...the one he helped me discover...? Or has age addled his mind so that I'm just a face in a sea of unrecognizable faces--no one of consequence...anymore.
I keep walking, crumbling the leaves, crushing them into fine dust to litter the forest floor--mere shadows of their former glory...
I lay down my pen and stare out the window. Leaves are beginning to fall, swirling around in tiny eddies akin to whirlpools as they tumble to the ground. I sigh and stand up, leaving my paper on the desk, half finished--the last sentence scrawled in a nearly undecipherable hand.