I decided to post some of my short fiction here on my blog. And now that my short writing break is over, I’ll be posting regularly again. The story below is called “Leaves in Spring Time.” Enjoy, and feel free to share, comment, and so on.
I stretched the tarp back out along the ditch beside the road in front of my house. It was the inside so it wasn’t blue. It was silver, the tarp that is.
But colors don’t matter. I picked the rake back up and dragged the leaves up and out of the ditch. The gray dust underneath puffed or swirled depending on how you look at it. I dropped the head of the rake back in the ditch and pulled back up. I dropped it and pulled back up.
The section was done but the tarp wasn’t covered yet, so I put the rake down and slid the tarp over to the next section. Then I did the same thing pulling the leaves up and out of the ditch.
The section was half-done, but the tarp was filled-up, so I folded each of the corners in and each of the corners that form from folding in corners until the leaves were trapped inside. And then I walked down past the driveway and walked into the woods and walked down the hill a bit past the point where the leaves might blow back into the yard and found the pile I started earlier or the year before depending on how you look at it and held onto the back of the tarp and let all the corners loose and looked away as leaves fell out onto the pile.
As I walked back up and saw the house, I looked for that spot by the white oak, the one in the middle of the yard, where my wife was sitting earlier. She wasn’t there, but as I continued up the hill, I saw her. She was next to the driveway and my little girl was there with a little kid-sized rake.
“She wants to help.”
I must’ve smiled. I don’t talk much.
I wiped sweat from my eyes and put my hand on my little girl’s head. She followed me over to that spot I left off at and started raking the leaves with her little rake. She did it indiscriminately, moving them here and there if you understand what I mean.
So then I put the tarp down and started pulling the leaves up and out of the ditch and my wife didn’t ask but I started explaining anyway, “Not sure why I do it,” I said as I pulled up leaves onto the tarp. “It’s a bigger pain—” I looked down at my little girl. She was still raking. “It’s a bigger pain gettin’ out the blower for it since it’s just the leaves here in the ditch. Never takes more than an hour but I—I never like doing it—somethin’ about dealing with leaves in spring time that just doesn’t—I don’t know—It doesn’t seem like somethin’ I wanna be doin’.”
I wanted her ask something like, “why don’t you leave ‘em there?” But she doesn’t think to ask that sorta question. So I answered like she asked it.
“I guess I worry about getting that thing—” I pointed to the gutter running underneath the driveway, “that thing—whatever you call it, jammed up with leaves so the water can’t run through.”
She nodded her head.
“I don’t know if it matters—just seems like I shouldn’t let the leaves wash down in there…”
“I don’t know if it matters,” I said picking up on a train of thought that has existed since the beginning of man, “I don’t know but I’ll do it anyway just in case.”
And in that moment I looked down. My little girl wasn’t just raking the leaves randomly anymore. She was picking them up, only a few at time because she’s only two and not very coordinated, and she was putting those leaves on the tarp.