Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Autumn Lover

The coming of Autumn is an awkward thing, strange and uncomfortable, unreliable and unpredictable, wild and tepid all at once, like taking a new lover to bed. There is strangeness and newness, not knowing how to hold one another, or where arms and legs fit best together, wanting desperately to be revealed fully and with abandon while also maintaining restraint for fear of going too far. They are dangerous times, the early days, because it's all too easy to forget where you've been and throw yourself headfirst into where you think you want to go.

If nothing else, Autumn is a damn fine tease, luscious and ripe, with cider-lipped kisses and full-bodied embraces one moment, a cold and icy stare followed by a barely whispered litany of curses the next. She has been many things in the week or so since she invited herself to stay and I can't help but think that if she were indeed a prospective partner whether I'd return her call the next morning or chalk up our brief tumble as drunken lunacy.

We have turned a corner here on the Front Range, and I can't remember when it has ever seemed so abrupt, like flipping the dial on the radio. Until recently our nights have been quite warm and Ken and I have slept with the windows open, pulling a breeze from one side of the apartment to the other. Duncan spent much of the summer under the bed, away from Ken, who burns in his sleep like a furnace. The cats, even Olive, have retreated to the dining room where they huddle on the chairs tucked neatly beneath the table. It has been quite nice, having the bed to ourselves again, being able to spread out, our legs stretched and bent in number fours, our arms draped across one another with little care. But Saturday morning we awoke early, the air in the bedroom startlingly cold on our faces, our bodies nicely warmed tucked under the comforter, Duncan, a thin lengthwise line lodged firmly between us. The pillows had grown cats while we slept, which purred softly against the tops of our heads. It has been easy to take Duncan out in the mornings, slipping on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, wandering into the grass in bare feet while Duncan plods along ahead of me. But Saturday it changed and since then we have stumbled outside early in the mornings, while darkness still whispers and hums a lullaby to the west and just as sunlight begins creeping forward along slender, dewy spiderwebs in the east. It has been shocking to see my breath, to feel the muscles of my body condense and compact around my bones. The grass is like needles, cold and sharp and my bare toes have been concealed by socks and shoes, my shorts replaced by jeans––the first I've worn since May.

What kind of lover makes you dress up each time she reaches her arms out to you? Summer pulled the clothes from our bodies, kissing the tips of our noses with each new bare limb, whispering dirty little words in our ear as we went. Autumn, though.. Autumn is a bitch and throws them back in our faces and calls us sentimental bores.

Oh that Summer did not have to go away to college and we could hold on to it forever.


lisa said...

This is a truly gorgeous post. I am watching a Queen concert on channel 12 while I read this and it is the perfect soundtrack to your musings.

Autumn is a sly bitch. I love her and hate her.

We all need intriguing lovers but I am not ready for fall- not yet.

Your novel is going to be marvelous.

Sue said...

Wow, I needed a cigarette after that first paragraph, and I don't even smoke!

Thankfully Autumn hasn't shown up here yet. I'm not ready, we are still enjoying the pool too much. When Autumn shows up, I'm going to pretend I'm not home...

caboval said...

Oh thank you Curt for this post! Yes the change is coming here too! Its not as crisp (it will be in the 70s this week) Thank God the humidity is gone for a while as well! Whew! But I had to wear a sweatshirt for our morning walk this morning! My dogs love the cool weather. Hope you are doing great! Hugs