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The Fall

 (OF THE LAST LEAF)
for Camille Tan

Falling had always looked exciting. Every leaf in this tree felt like it is the best goal we have all to achieve. We were fascinated by the concept of sweeping down by the breeze, by how easy and blissful it is to fall down to the grass and touch the area that we own; we wished for a space down there where children play, we wished to travel with air, to see the world, we all wished we weren't here, stuck in an old tree together during a hot summer season.


I anticipated each day, waiting to finally have my initiation rights of falling down. I'm tired of holding onto a twig that most people don't even notice. No leaf wants to be the last one to fall. Every one of us just wants to fall down all at once. But I do not understand fate, sometimes. I grow tired watching the leaves I know, change from green to red to orange, saying goodbye as they smiled down at me. They all looked happy down there. I frowned in jealousy as I see them in bundles, or in individual scatters. I wondered what the grass felt like. 


Bountiful leaves transformed into a bald one. We are just three left--one leaf was at the highest branch, swinging and rotating endlessly. It's almost pink, very ready to fall down. The second one was brown fixed at the middle left swirling hard but struggling to grab with its twig. I am near the bottom, absorbing all the nutrients from the roots without even that free will of doing so. I looked at the river near the hill where this tree was planted. I saw myself, almost brown... I am as anticipated as I will ever be! I hope I won't be the last to fall, for I wasn't the last to bloom.

The pink swirled downwards and it touched the auburn leaves that were on the newly trimmed grass. I looked at the other brown with the confidence that it would be the loser among us. It frowned at me, but as distant as we were, I couldn't read what it says to me. Its twig cracked, and it yelped for my help. I saw it brim into the unexpected twist of fate of falling down. I could have switched places with him; I always wanted what it had.

I lost; I am the last leaf of this tree. My time is ticking and I am still hanging. I am no beauty in this tree, I am a distraction, I am a sign that winter's coming. I don't like to witness the cold as I still dangle in the branches.

I watch the sun smile at me. I never saw the sun completely because I was busy looking down where every leaf sat flat. I never saw the sun shining at me as it meets the river at dusk; because at summer, all leaves were blocking my view. I never realized how beautiful it was, how privileged I was being the ONLY one to witness this. Maybe falling wasn't a good idea after all. I'd want to stay here until I can. I started looking up, and continued hanging on. 

Crack. I heard the crisp tear of the leaves on the ground as they were stepped on by children, by strangers, as they were fed to animals, burned to ashes, and swept into a bundle of trash. The leaves didn't have the power to live, not even the ability to crawl or climb back to this tree where I still hang. They no longer receive food from the roots of their branches, into which I am still fortunate about because up to this day, I get the nutrients I need. I get to see the sun smile, the river whistle, and the children play.

In the current call of holding unto my twig; I guess it was aching to let go of me. This is my time, my fall. I fell slowly and then swiftly. I bumped into the air from right to left. I cannot feel any softness in my surface the way I used to; Drying up, quickly turning dark brown, vastly fading into the rays of sun that used to poke my skin and burn a warm embrace up there where I used to dream. 

Now's the time when I am finally having my dream, but it's also the time where I am letting go! It's what I always wanted but it never felt the way I needed. As soon as I felt flat on the ground, I forgot how special I was. How I was blessed to cherish the beauty of nature as compared with those who began their dreams. It isn't what I wanted, being down here. All I always needed after all, was to belong with my tree, my family.

Though it's too late, I will never see the sun smile again. I will never see the ripples of the river reflecting freckled holes I have. I saw my neighboring leaves swept at dirt and then burried, some burned, some torn or shredded into pieces. We never had a choice. I never realized it was the tradition of the four seasons; when we all hoped at something good, they influenced us to feel that way so we wouldn't treasure what we have. We were all placed in a conveyor belt of false happiness, when we felt insecure of ourselves not being aware that we have everything we needed. We left everything we love at the expense of their pursuits. 

The wind kissed me a second chance. I met the river and recovered my youth. I flowed down the stream of the river and heard the blows of the water. It was calming, rejuvenating, heartwarming. I got stuck into stones but recovered quickly. I got pecked by birds, but managed to survive some pieces of me. I stopped at the edge of the river bank and saw another tree holding onto its last leaf, who's looking down the grass where its other mates were. 

"Dear, you don't know how lucky you are."




The Fall The Fall Reviewed by Michelle Tan on 5:06 PM Rating: 5

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