Defiant Leaf

Quiet. I stood alone on the sidewalk reveling in the emptiness of an otherwise cluttered city. The sounds that provided the perfunctory atmosphere were relegated to the highways in the distance, their waves not powerful enough to find their way through the maze of skyscrapers and dilapidated buildings to reach my ears. A slight breeze traveled through the empty streets effortlessly and unobstructed, rustling the leaves above my head. I closed my eyes and listened. The sunlight reflected brilliantly off the polished stone of the buildings around me. It was cool in the shade. I moved by the curb and leaned against the tree. The tree’s placement was as unnatural as the buildings that surrounded us, providing shade only to me and the empty parking spot that sat directly in front. It didn’t matter. The tree was what it was, and it did what it did. Dead leaves scattered the blacktop, empty reminders of its presence; empty reminders of a nature this area had long forgotten.

A city worker penetrated my tranquil trance, strolling casually in from the left while whistling a soft tune. Slowly, carefully he maneuvered around the tree and into the empty parking space, not a thought on his mind beyond doing his job. He pulled out his broom and pail as smoothly as he entered my day. Our day. Without breaking tune or stride he swept up the leaves with pinpoint precision, scraping his black plastic pail on the pavement with each sweep. In one continuous motion he finished sweeping, stepped back onto the curb, and exited my view, his visit evidenced only by the barren blacktop and his fading tune. I looked back to the parking space, now as void of memories as it was cars. No more leaves, no more reminders of the past, only the natural world as fabricated by man.

I stood staring into the void, lost in the beautiful irony of what had just occurred. As my thoughts drifted and my vision began to blur into obscurity I heard a faint *snap* that pulled everything back into focus. The breeze had settled and the leaves had stopped shaking; again it was quiet. I held my breath as a single leaf floated slowly into view. It spun quickly as it fell, moving forwards and backwards like a mother cradling her child. I watched intently as it danced through the air as if trying to extend and enjoy every second of its defiant free fall. It slowed as it reached the ground. For a split second it defied the laws of gravity and hovered one millimeter above the blacktop, then the weight of the moment forced it down. With its free fall finally over, it kissed the pavement as softly as the breeze on my cheeks.

A vacant parking spot. A single leaf. An empty reminder.

3 Responses to “Defiant Leaf”
  1. tsonoda148 says:

    Kluck. I have no words that would adequately describe my feelings on your writing at this moment. I will try, however, because such writing deserves appreciation. Your descriptions are exquisite and your piece flowed seemingly effortlessly. Wow. You may enjoy humor, but your flair for fiction is amazing. I am in awe, and I remain, your devoted fan.


  2. Moe says:

    Awesome! Your version of the concrete jungle.

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