The Last Leaf of Autumn by Lbilover

For a writing community prompt: You are a leaf and fall has started. Explain how you feel about this.

The man has been coming there nearly every day since you first unfurled in the spring. As the months pass, you shelter him from the summer sun, dance your shadow lightly over his skin. Often he doesn't come alone, but with another man, his lover. They spread a blanket in your shade, lie back and talk, laugh, kiss.

But summer fades and change swirls in the air and your life force slows; he changes, too. He comes more rarely and always alone, head bowed and shoulders stooped as against an invisible weight. He never laughs now, but sometimes he cries.

Around you your mates let go and drop, one by one, until a flame-colored carpet beckons to you from below. But you cling stubbornly on, waiting for what you don't know, until you are all alone, shivering unprotected in the chill late autumn wind. And then the man appears after a long absence. With him is his lover, leaning heavily on his arm.

"You'd better rest," he says and gently eases the other to the ground. He sits close beside him and wraps an arm tightly around him. "I didn't think this day would ever come. I was so close to losing you..." His voice breaks and his shoulders start to shake as if the wind has stirred them.

"Hush, my dearest love, hush. You didn't lose me. Death didn't win: we beat him."

They sit for a long time without speaking; finally he says, "We'd better go. It's cold and I don't want you to catch a chill."

"Too bad the leaves are fading," his lover replies, running a thin hand over the dull, browning carpet. "We could take one home and press it, keep it as a memory of today."

A queer feeling comes over you then, a sense of urgency. Suddenly you know why you've held on so long: it is for this moment. You let go, fall giddily down, twisting and turning, until you come to rest on his lap.

"Look," he says, picking you up. "Not all the leaves have faded. There's still one left." He huffs a laugh. "Do you think it was waiting for us?"

His lover laughs, too, but touches you with a gentle finger and says solemnly, "Yes, I do."

"So do I." He carefully tucks you into his warm-safe pocket, and this time when he goes, you go with him.