When the First Autumn Leaf Fell

Posted by Bruce on September 23, 2012
Stories, Uncategorized

The stars went back to L.A and T.I.F.F came to a abrupt close. As it does every year.  I have a few friends that put together an itinerary that would exhaust the Canadian Olympic team.  The red carpets were rolled up and the fan fare fell into a hush and then disappeared.  The Fall was closing in.  The carelessness of Summer was winding down and and nights grow shorter in the city.  As this all happened around me, reality was beginning to set in. Someone dear to me had been under the weather for an extended period and we were all beginning to worry.

I had to catch a train out of my city to be at the side of a close person in need.  They were having tests. Tests to rule out the serious.  As I headed into Oshawa with this on my mind the memories came flooding in. Moments and events that had settled to the back of my mind, now were rushing back. Bringing with them a flood of emotions.  We all want to remain positive and believe everything will be alright but that other possibility is out there, waiting to manifest itself.

I shake it off and try to read the Metro that I had brought for my trip.  My eyes just scanning the words, not really taking them in.  I had talked to this person many times on the phone over the past few weeks and though she sounded brave her voice was noticeably strained.  Mortality. We don’t really respect it until it stares us right in the face.

Thankfully I was being picked up at the station by a close companion. Someone who has been there for me thick or thin. We don’t always see eye to eye but we agree when it’s most important. Like now, being together on this particular occasion.  The drive to pick up the relation on topic was longer than usual.  We talked Summer and shared stories but that wasn’t really what we wanted to discuss.  We wanted to discuss the present. The frightful possibility that our life as we know it was about to change.

We arrived at the hospital with our companion on side and we got her registered.  She smiled and we smiled and we cried allot on the inside.  As she went in for her appointment, we found ourselves on our own.  Next door was a landmark that made up many of our childhood memories. We had visited there so many times. Our parents had taken us there so many times to enjoy the gardens and to have some tasty desserts in the tea house. Both he and I were lost in memories past. I could tell by the glazed appearance in his eyes. We walked down to the sunken garden and tried to find some calm in the running fountains. The flowers were still in bloom and yet the tea house had been closed for Autumn’s arrival. A shame really because I really wanted to sit and have tea. We pulled up two empty chairs and placed them towards the decadent water fountain. The view was breathtaking and yet today foreboding.

We talked about visiting here as children. We talked about the original family that lived here. We talked about how quickly time passes and what would the next hour bring to our reality.  There were no tears but we knew today could change our lives forever. Did he have any regret? Was he going over childhood memories in his own thoughts? Was he thinking of their relationship? I was certainly doing all of these things and yet we never shared this within our chat.

We noticed the changes from our youth. The details of the gardens, of the gravel walkways.  We strolled through the garden like an enchanted time capsule until it lead us back to the main gate.  There were trucks and cables and men dressed in uniforms with name tags on display. They were filming a movie in the mansion.  We stopped to make small chat with one of the attendants and we found out what there was to know. Still the reality of the day loomed over us like a wicked funnel cloud. I finally said “If there is anything wrong, I am going to be so pissed!”  My travel companion simply replied. There won’t be.”

At that, we had arrived at the entrance to the hospital where we were to meet her.  He passed. I sat, and stood and sat again.  From down the long hall we could suddenly see her coming. A nurse was bringing her out in a chair, as she was sleepy from the procedure.  We looked for any sign that the news would be of a merciful nature.  Life was in slow motion and my stomach was knotted.  As she looked up towards us, she smiled.  She smiled.  We froze. She said everything is alright. Everything is OK and she was so relieved. We embraced her and she us. Today was a good day.

Just like that the fear, the anxiety, the wondering disappeared.  We would have more time to celebrate, to love, to be! We were all so thankful. We were all together, when the first Autumn leaf fell.


R.S McLaughlin Parkwood Estate


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