What if her blood had been this shade? These thoughts are filthy, coating my tongue in a thick film of dirt. Focus!
Moss green paint, a spring green; a serene pot of glossy hope. It glazes the tip of the brush despite the sporadic trembling of my hands and drips down onto the first leaf of the day. The leaf's firm stature with its jaundiced hue of an old bruise, even its veins, all churn my stomach into a vat of discontent. Veins, just as hers would have screamed as they were being unzipped. The leaves can stop it though, the shrapnel of Autumn can be stopped. Leaf after leaf: rotten, chapped, dead and blazing red; disgusting. I'll stop the dates! Shove the anniversary into a catacomb of ice and trickle my memories in along with them. Her hair was the same blazing red as the leaves. Irony, what a bitch.
One branch complete, shades of enraptured greens grinning up at me.
“You're idiotic you know...”
Her scent is as thick as the humidity encapsulating me, the manifest idly skulks around the trees; her lunar face shining, but her pupils are frozen. Lost, minute pinpricks behind the foliage of her fringe.
“Rain's due tomorrow, it'll all wash off babe! Then I suppose the grass'll die from the chemicals. I don't know why you're bothering”. Her voice is like thunder bouncing off of the sound behind our house... my house now.
“Shut up, shut up, shut up! You're not real...” My mumbles catch in my throat, fish hook letters snagging on my ventricles before faltering out of my mouth. Through the corners of my hazy vision, Mr. Harris' perplexed face is staring through the thickets entangled in the fence; secateurs in hand. I nod blindly to him, his glasses becoming foggy.
“How was the wake?” He musters, still gawking.
“What a creep, you know he tried it on with me at the Christmas party?” I shut my eyes to rid her siren-like form from throttling my senses.
“It was – okay”.
I turn from his airborne judgement, my mouth running dry as I glimpse the first of the leaves beginning to fall; cracked paint flecks around their stems. Now what?
“Autumn's always going to catch up with you Hamish”
Scampering across the unkempt grass; I fumble through the drawers of the kitchen, nipping my fingers on stray pins and Christmas cracker scissors; eventually finding a doll's size tube of glue. I can hear echoes of scoffs behind me, disdain which used to amuse me but now sends molten guilt through my bloodstream.
Five leaves permanently attached, five steps closer to preventing it. Five stages mocking. No glue left, a drop of dried paint remaining.