Autumn Girl

By Emily Josephine McPhillips

Location: St Ann’s Square

The church in the centre of town is by the quite fancy shopping district, you’ll pass it and think what lovely stained glass windows it has, but then you’ll look slightly to your right and see a fantastic sale on a pair of boots, in a browny red shade that you so very rarely see. You buy the boots on credit. You really should just be waiting for your friend, but he’s late, and even in the text message he’s sent you to tell you he’s going to be late, he states: punctuality is not my speciality.

On the three low steps by the side of the church, you sit down, you take a book out of your bag, and begin to read it in bites. Many of the book’s pages are folded over in their outer corners, and you are always forgetting what’s just happened in the parts you have newly read, so you read those parts again as you think on how this must be a little like what others call déjà vu, only less dramatic, and less inviting of similar experiences.

A little boy and his mother walk around you. They’re in your vision. They walk from left to right, then back again. You can tell that the little boy is new to this as walking aimlessly excites him terribly. His mother holds her arms out while stooping low to the ground to pick her son up, but the little boy doesn’t enter her arms, instead, he runs off further to the right of the scene, which makes you look up, from your book, to see who he is running to, and it is his father, who unknown to his wife is suffering from anxiety and the desire to find out what it is he really wants to do with his life, because it’s more than this. The father scoops his son up, and the three of them walk, together, connected, a son upon a pair of shoulders, a wife kept in a hand.

It’s too cold really, to read, and if you were to wear gloves it’d be too hard to turn the pages. You sit on a hand for a while and then you exchange it for the other; but you’ll exaggerate how cold you are, because it gives other people more adjectives to describe you with, and you are eager to please them, and eager to help them along.

You breathe a cold envelope of smoke into the air. You pull your hair around your chin. You stuff your scarf into your jacket like a preening gesture of a proud bird. An older couple stand beside you and read a sign that’s nearby. You don’t know what the sign says, and you really want to know now that it has caught the attention of others; their interest is contagious.

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2 Responses to “Autumn Girl”

  1. November 23, 2010 at 8:00 am, Joanne said:

    Your story captivated me yet at the same time eased my worried mind. Thank you.

  2. November 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm, Bilbo Baggins said:

    I checked your Blog to see if you were indeed a pretty stranger. It’s safe to say you have a nice pair of cheeks, and a talent for writing short stories.


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