My Writing · The Arts

An Autumn Walk

I wrote this today. Yeah, I know…wow. I don’t even know what my inspiration was, I just went with it. I did some extensive editing, but that does not mean I caught every mistake. I think for the fact I wrote it in four hours (it’s only eight pages), it says a lot. 

I also want to mention that this is entirely fiction. In case my sister decides to read this, Patrick is NOT based on anyone I knew in school, it was just the first name that came to mind.

I can’t remember why we ended up walking through the woods nearby the lake. We were supposed to be shopping for Halloween decorations for his Halloween party, but at some point between going to Target and some other store he thought he could get lots of Halloween-themed stuff; we ended up going to the lake.

The moment Patrick pulled up at the woods just outside of the lake, this feeling of excitement and hesitation came over me. I’d gone out many times with him when it was just the two of us, but at the lake it was just us, there wasn’t much of a chance we’d run into friends while there. Also, many of our friends had been saying in the last few weeks that the two of us ought to date. Apparently, we “weren’t fooling anyone” with our friendship act, and that we both liked one another. Armed with that knowledge, getting out of the car to walk with him was awkward.

It was the second week of October, in Northern New Hampshire. The leaves had pretty much finished changing colors, although there were still many places tourists and nature lovers could go to take a million photos of leaves dying in preparation of the upcoming winter. I liked pretending that the leaves didn’t make me happy inside, but I also knew no one ever believed me. Patrick was dressed in a light coat, black Henley, a gray scarf which went well with his leather boots, and jeans. I was in my “autumn suit” of a peacoat, cream sweater, red scarf and its matching hat, and my trusty black Hunter boots with my jeans tucked into them.

“Patrick, why did you decide to go for a walk?”

“I am stuck on what my Halloween theme ought to be, so I figured, go on a walk nearby the lake and maybe something will come to mind.”

“Yes, because nothing says ‘Halloween’ like changing leaves crunching beneath your feet.” I saw a wrinkle form around his eyes as he smiled softly. “What are you dressing up as? That might help with a theme. Although, as a general rule, you can pretty much take anything Halloween-related and it works for a party.”

“I am dressing up as Loki for Halloween,” he said, turning to look at me. Patrick knew Loki was a personal weakness of mine, and he knew that I would not be able to hide my excitement. I just simply nodded, keeping my excitement inside. “What are you going as, Audrey?”

“A French aristocratic vampire from the 1890s,” I said matter-of-factly. “It has taken a good portion of the last few months to find the right costume and its accoutrements, but I am proud to say that when your party rolls around, I shall be ready. I even found the perfect fangs.”

“God, you are such a history nerd. I’ll bet no one puts as much thought into their costumes as you do.”

“I fully believe in having a believable costume for Halloween,” I said, socking him lightly in the arm. “I also don’t get into the whole sexy costume bit. And I should hope you’re putting some thought into being Loki. Do you have the proper accessories? Which Loki are you going to be?”

“You’ll just have to wait and see, Auddie. And I look forward to your 1890s French aristocratic vampire. I’m sure you’ll look the part.” Patrick and I continued to walk, mostly in silence. Occasionally, one of us would point out some bird or tree that caught our attention, but we mainly remained silent.

After ten minutes of comfortable silence, we reached the outskirts of the lake. Patrick suddenly burst ahead, bending down to pick something off of the ground. I eventually caught up to him, to find he had found two abandoned action figures, which he was now playing with.

“Spiderman and Thor, who make quite the unlikely duo,” I said, trying to suppress laughter at Patrick’s playing. “I am going to continue on towards the lake. You stay here, and play with your toys.”

I kept walking to the lake, which I could faintly see beyond a bunch of bushes and red-tinged trees. Thirty seconds later, I heard Patrick’s footsteps quickly approaching from behind. He ran up alongside me, slightly out of breath, slowly down to my pace. I could smell his cologne, and I was suddenly very aware how close he was walking beside me.

“Did you get lonely?”

“No, actually Thor and Spiderman did.” I turned my head and laughed. “Laugh if you must, but they missed you…especially Thor.”

“This is oddly reminiscent of when we were younger, Patrick. Except it was a stuffed animal at Target one night when we got bored when we were sixteen. It stalked me throughout the entire store, and it was slightly awkward. I can’t say anything has changed in fifteen years, except that we are much more mature now.” I looked up at him, turned my face back to the lake, and said, “Well, at least I am.”

I took a seat at a picnic table, and stared out at the lake. I came to the lake every once in a while when I needed to collect my thoughts, or write. Patrick had pocketed the toys, and was sitting in silent reflection beside me. I pulled out my phone, and turned on some music. At that moment, the silence was too much for me to bear. From the corner of my eye, I saw Patrick smile slightly. Remy Zero’s ‘Save Me’ began to play, and I saw Patrick “covertly” take those two action figures out of his pocket.

“My Spidey senses are tingling, Patrick. What are you planning?” He looks at me as if nothing is going on. Suddenly, there is Thor on my right shoulder.

“Are you in need of saving, Maiden of Midgard? I have my mighty hammer, Mjolnir to rescue you.”

“Ummm…no, thank you, Thor. I am plenty safe right now.” And then, Spiderman appears on my left shoulder.

“Miss, is this blond barbarian bothering you?” By that point, I could barely keep a straight face.

“Barbarian? I’ll have you know, I am a prince of Asgard! And it is my duty to protect humans from things such as you.”

“Gentlemen, I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. There is no need to fight.” I wondered if playing along made me insane.

“If you’re sure,” Thor said with an affected English accent, “Then I shall back off.” Spiderman made some movement in agreement with Thor. “And since there are no hard feelings, how about a kiss?” Spiderman enthusiastically danced upon my left shoulder at this suggestion.

“No, thank you?” Thor looked at me in disbelief. I looked up at Patrick, who made a puppy dog face at me, under the guise of Thor. “Stop it, Patrick. I am not kissing Thor.”

“How about me?” Spiderman asked.

“I am not kissing him, either. Who knows what has been on those action figures, let alone where they’d been before you picked them up.”

“Audrey, be a sport! One of them needs a kiss. Now, who’s it going to be? Thor, Prince of Asgard; or Spiderman?”

“How about neither of them?” Patrick brings them both together in front of him, and makes them kiss.

“See? They like kissing.” He keeps making them kiss, making kissing noises, and acting like a dork. “Now, kiss them, Auddie.”

As he brings them near me, I jump up from the table, and walk away. Patrick gets up, and quickly walks towards me. I pick up my pace, and run near the shore of the lake away from him. He starts to run up behind me, playfully urging me to kiss Thor, since he misses the kisses of his Midgardian maiden. I giggle and shriek as he gets closer to me, and I eventually stop, because the chilly autumn air hurts my lungs. Patrick towers above me, and I suddenly feel really short.

“Jesus, Patrick! You’re like a skyscraper standing in front of me like that.”

“It’s not my fault you’re fucking short. What are you, like, five-feet-tall?”

“I’m five-foot-five, thank you. And you’re what, seven feet?”

“Close, six-four. Should I stoop down for you?” He huffs dramatically, as if that would make me sorry.

“That would be wonderful, thank you.”

Patrick drops to his knees, raising his eyebrows to ask my approval. I take his wrists, pull him up to where his eyes meet mine, and I said, “This is fine.”

“Are you going to satisfy Thor’s need for Midgardian love?”

“If I kiss Thor, will you put the action figures away?”

“Upon my honor as the future Loki of Jotunheim, yes.”

I sigh, and quickly peck the action figure. I back up, waiting for Patrick to fulfil his part of our bargain. He walks to the picnic table, and places them delicately on top. He then walks back over to me, a victorious smile on his face.

“What the hell is that smile?”

“It was my personal mission to see if I could get you to be like you were when we were teenagers. It’s been a long time since you’ve really let go, and acted silly.”

“I am offended,” I said with a mock offended tone. “Last year, I let loose when we went tubing and had a snowball fight with our friends.”

“It was more of a snowball war than a fight,” he replied. “And I had forgotten about that.”

I walked in the direction of a set of trees I was particularly fond of sitting beneath in the summer when it was hot. It also afforded a beautiful view of the lake, which was completely calm, so all the changing trees reflected in it like a mirror. I sat down in large pile of orange and red leaves, which crunched satisfyingly beneath my weight. I rested my head against a tree, pulling out my phone to snap a picture. I then turned the phone in Patrick’s direction, resulting in him opening his mouth widely as if excited. I snorted, and was barely able to take a clear photo. Patrick took my phone, and pointed it in my direction. I shied away, crawling away from him. He jumped up from the ground, and pursued me on foot. I used the oversized roots of a tree to propel myself up off the ground, and sprinted away. Because Patrick is over six feet tall, he caught up with me quickly enough.

I was bent over from exertion, trying to catch my breath when he caught up with me.

“Are you okay, Audrey?” I nodded, taking in a deep breath, and returning to an upright position. I stood against the tree to regain my breath, chuckling softly.

“I think I need to exercise more.” I looked over at Patrick, who was breathing heavily himself. It had been a while since I had looked at him for more than a few seconds. I’d forgotten how attractive he is when his cheeks get red from being out in the cold. Since he had exerted himself, they made him look like Santa Claus.

“You look good with brown hair,” I said, adjusting my scarf. “I’m glad you let your hair go back to its natural color.”

“What are you saying? You didn’t like it blond?” He smiled back at me, fixing his hair.

“It looked good blond, but you’ve always looked better with the darker color.” He continues struggling to put his hair back to a somewhat smooth appearance. “Let me help you,” I said, walking over to him. I grab the lapels of his coat, and pull him down to my level. “You are completely helpless,” I say under my breath. I smooth his hair out, and shape it to what it would normally look like if he hadn’t been wind-blown.

“There we go,” I said with an approving smile.

“Thanks, Auddie. What would I do without you?”

“Look like you cannot style your own hair in nature?” I walk back towards the tree, and sit down.

Patrick walks to the edge of the lake, picking up a couple of stones, and skipping them across the water. I clap when he finishes, making him turn and smile at me. He walks over to me, and kneels down, placing his hands on my knees for stability. The air stilled, and he just looked at me intently. I lightly smiled at him, trying to break the tension in that moment. He leaned forward, and softly kissed me. Every thought I had at that moment disappeared, and all I could think about was that I had waited since freshman year of high school for this moment.

After he pulled back, I stood up and walked away. Patrick followed two minutes later, finding me back at the picnic table facing the lake.

“Was that your not-so-subtle way of saying you didn’t enjoy that? I’ve wanted to do that since we were fifteen,” he said softly.

“I did enjoy it…I just needed to regain my train of thought,” I said, looking at him. “I’d been thinking of that moment since we were freshmen, and now that it’s happened, I needed a moment.”

He sat down beside me, linking his arm with mine.

“Who knew it would take sixteen years for it to finally happen? What do you think our friends would say?”

“They’d probably do a jig,” I smiled. “They’ve been saying for the last few weeks that we like each other, and that ‘our friendship act isn’t fooling anybody.’” Patrick laughed, taking my hand in his. He tried kissing me again, but he couldn’t get the right angle, so he sat on my lap. “What the hell are you doing?”

“It’d be easier to kiss you from this angle,” he said, leaning down to kiss me.

“You’re so damn tall. That looks uncomfortable. Aren’t you uncomfortable?”

“A little bit,” he said with a smile.

“For heaven’s sake, let’s trade places, then.” I pat his arm so he’ll stand up. After he sits down, I sit on his lap. “Better?” He smiles at me, nodding. I lay my head on his shoulder, looking at the lake.

He leans his head back, and kisses my forehead. He strokes my cheek until I cannot ignore the overwhelming urge I was suppressing to take his face in my hands, and kiss him. As soon as I kissed him, my thumbs resting on his cheekbones, he wrapped his arms around my back.

******

Two weeks later at the Halloween party, I walk into Patrick’s house. We’d been seeing each other about a week-and-a-half, and I still wasn’t sure which incarnation of Loki would greet me. I hear someone in the kitchen, so I walk in that direction. Patrick rounds the corner, dressed as Loki from the first Thor movie. His hair is smoothed back, and he is dressed in the ceremonial clothes from the beginning of the film.

“Ah, fair maiden of Midgard, welcome.”

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