Isn’t autumn wonderful?
There are many slices of my insignificant life of which my feeble memory associates with this time of year. It’s the season when as a child I awakened in the middle of the night with a horrifying case of asthma from playing in a pile of raked leaves earlier that day, it’s the time of year I experienced my first case of depression as a teenager, and just last year, it’s when my blind cat taught me that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.
Every fall, I can rely on the following to occur in my condemnable home: coats will get hung on the back of the dining room chairs when I get home from work because I’m too lazy to walk 15 extra steps to the coat closet, you will hear my partner yelling at me from the sidewalk outside when I press my cold feet against his leg or back for shits and giggles, and fallen leaves from the neighbors willow oak tree will be tracked inside through the back door.
As a connoisseur of the outdoors, Blind Murphy takes pleasure in playing with these uninvited, narrow leaves, so it wasn’t unusual to find him with his nose against the kitchen’s clean, tile floor. Seeing how a clean home is more important to me than his fun, I expressed my frustration by grunting and rolling my eyes before bending over to swiftly swipe the brittle leaf from the floor and discard it into the trash.
That, however, is not what happened.
Instead of grabbing a hold of the object on the floor, my fingers passed through it as if grasping a sliver of loose clay. In the moment that followed, my brain struggled against comprehending what just occurred. It knew that a meltdown was eminent if I discerned what just happened. To prevent a major system shutdown, my brain registered, “That’s strange. This leaf just melted in my hand.”
But since reality is stronger than delusion, it was only a matter of seconds before realization settled in to inform me that I just attempted to pick up a cat turd, my fingers pinching this doughy mookey stick in half.
I stared at my dirty fingers. My right eye twitched. My heart pounded heavily in my temples. My ears rang.
And then I snapped.
So let this be a lesson to all of you in the autumn of your life. Visit your eye doctor every year for an examination because you never know when your body will break enough for you to mistake a piece of shit for a leaf.
by Cary Vaughn (2014)