It was always his favourite time of year. The time when the days turned cold, and he could wrap up warm with the scarf she had so lovingly made, wrapped tight around his neck.
He would hold her hand, for his was always warm and hers icy cold. When they were young, he would have offered her his coat, but he felt the cold these days. His fingers were still warm though. His silvering hair peeked out of the wooly hat he had crammed on his head in his rush.
Autumn he decided was the season that was shadowed by her sisters, Winter demanded to be felt, cold and brisk, but with many holidays so one couldn’t forget about it. Spring, new life, Easter, another holiday. Spring was the new baby, being documented but instead of teeth, words and steps it was measure in Daffodils, Lilacs and Blossoms. Summer, hot and stifling, the over achiever, he pictures Summer studying away all year just to come out with something bolder and brasher than the year before. Autumn was the quiet sister, maybe a bit bookish, preferred to be quietly noticed rather than in your face. She was soft handed and kind hearted. She faded in when Summer had had enough and was pushed out when Winter decided.
He loved how colourful autumn was. The Reds and oranges, even though the rain turned the crisp autumn leaves into sludge, he did like the rain. As long as he had his huge “rainbow” umbrella as their daughter had called it. He had his favourite points of Autumn, in the dying days of September, the early October, when Autumn comes blinking out, not quite sure what to do. And in the last two weeks of November , when the rain had cleared and a perpetual frost lingered on the cars.
It has been Summer when he had first met her. But it had been Autumn that had realised their love for each other. At the Autumn fayre, still celebrating hallowe’en despite it being November, but also celebrating bonfire night. They stood by the bonfire, holding paper cups of hot chocolate in gloved hands, feeling the warmth of the fire on their faces, their toes still frozen from wearing Wellington boots.
Then the fireworks had started, and it felt as though they were transporting to another world. A world of night, where the fireworks dyed your hair a different colour every second, and the firelight set your heart of fire, where cold fingers and toes were a beautiful given. It was in the moment under the gunpowder that he kissed her for the first time.
The following Autumn, she had taken him coat shopping. He kicked up a fuss, what was wrong with his own coat? But he hasn’t minded really, especially when they found the perfect coat.
Their wedding had come the following year. He smiled as he remembered her running out into the grounds of the hotel as the sun set and letting off a lantern with wishes for their future and then fireworks. Neither of them felt the cold that year, not even her even though she didn’t have anything covering her bare arms. He pulled her close anyway, her hand with her new jewellery adorned on her finger, on his chest.
He remembered wrapping their children in their coats and scarves before sending them out to school, holding their hands as they walked to the park to see the fireworks. He remembered holding his wife’s hand as their daughter’s friend joined them one year and the year after, both of them smiling fondly after the two, even though she had insisted they were just friends.
It had been Autumn when he had been asked for permission for his daughters hand. He had wanted to say no, but the gentle hand on his leg made him see reason. They had been married in the dying hours of summer, and spent the best part of Autumn on their honeymoon, it was the first Autumn they had not spent as a family.
The wind had turned chilly as he walked, he pulled up the collar on his coat they had bought nearly thirty years ago, and walked briskly on trying to warm himself as he walked. He reached a cross roads in the path and wondered which way to go. Silently a hand slipped into his, the iciness of the fingers making him jump. He turned and looked, the small girl that held his hand looked just like her grandmother, he swallowed hard, but smiled all the same.
She tugged at his hand to tell him which path to follow. It was the one strewn with golden leaves. She had inherited her families love of Autumn.