The Passing Orange of Autumn (A Dime A Dozen)

by SC


The young lady stood opposite the bricked house. An imposing oak door guarded the mouth of the building, its windows sealed shut and the curtains drawn she climbed the staircase and knocked. She retreated near the faded gate, inspecting the elderly woman scurrying down the stairs.

The woman’s orange scarf blended in amongst the autumn scenery. After a quick greeting the pair journey down the pavement, the crisp maple leaves softening their step. A gentle wind blew as if to assist them toward ‘’are you ready for your psychiatry session today?’’ asked the young woman her voice laced with strength and confidence, her amber eyes focused upon the frail croaked body of her chest. ‘’I am here to help you deal with the death of your husband.’’

The old woman nodded, her eyes faced upon the grey concrete ‘’how does it feel, what emotions are you experiencing?’’ questioned the young lady as she slowed her pace to match her clients. The crackling of leaves was interrupted by the elderly woman’s mumblings ‘’sorrow and overwhelming loneliness. ’The psychiatrist nodded her head; she had expected such an answer. “There are a few steps you must follow, firstly acceptance of reality, secondly establishing a network of friends and thirdly-.” The old woman interrupted, the sleep in her eyes banishing. “My dear, dealing with loss is not a formula; you can never heal from the death of a loved one… Just learn to live with it.” She continued calmly, “The scars of loss can never heal they will just fade with time.” The pair continued to walk down the street, the psychiatrist opened her mouth but her client began to speak again… “I still forget he’s gone, I bring out two cups of tea, I still cook two plates of food and wake up expecting his smile.”

Maple leaves danced with the wind as the pair walked down the street. Suddenly the elderly woman grabbed the younger lady’s hand, “Come I will show you where we first met!” They paced down the street ignoring the speeding cars and the hordes of weary people, the birds began to sing in the background. The old lady asked questions about the psychiatrist’s family and friends. She explained work had consumed her life and she had little time for leisure and enjoyment; it had been months since she had last spoken with her parents. The elderly woman shook her head and asked, the grey skies casted a sombre tone on the scenery.

They arrived at an empty park. The play equipment had decayed under the pressures of time. The old woman pointed to a large stump that had once been the foundation of a magnificent tree. ‘’He tried to impress me by climbing that tree…silly, he fell and broke his arm.’’ The young lady giggled, too aware of how emotions of love overwhelmed logic. The elderly woman slumped into the swings ‘’He would push me here…we would meet every weekend.’’ The old woman cleared her throat ‘’you know when you age and mature, trivial matters like money and fame disappear and the most important things like love and pride resurfaces.’’ The psychiatrist stood silent absorbing the knowledge of her ‘’client.’’ “Our society has always been a materialistic one and so many young children lose the joys of simplistic living in the dreams of excess.”

The elderly woman continued preaching her wisdom until the young lady asked ‘’will you be able to cope?’’ her concern evident in her voice. The elderly woman smiled and patted her shoulder. ‘’You just listening to me speak has made me forget about the pain temporarily.’’ With that she stood up grabbed her psychiatrist’s hand and began to retrace her steps home. The swing swung sadly for a few more moments before it halted completely as if a ghost of the past was taking its final leap.

The pair walked silently, not wanting to shatter the beautiful moment with the burdens of life. The two walked past a young girl bubbling with immense happiness and she realised how much time’s hands had shaped her. Gone was her sparkling joy, new replaced with materialistic desires and fascinations. ‘’Remember to visit your parents’’ smiled the elderly woman ‘’they must miss you incredibly.’’ Her voice wheezy from exhaustion, the crunch of fresh maple leaves announced their arrival.

After a final exchange of words the woman unlocked the gate and shuffled up the stairs. The psychiatrist remembering she had missed one vital part of the elderly woman’s life asked.. ‘’Wait! What’s your name?’’ The client turned around and explained, ‘’Names are just labels, you know my history, my fears and values is that not enough?’’ With one last smile she closed the large brown oak door.