The wind rustled through the trees of the morning day and Jason was gathering leaves in the backyard. It was fall, the time of year again. The time to begin to gather up leaves. Jason loved fall for two reasons: the pretty colours and jumping into the leaves. They were so light but so much fun to jump into like the pool of balls at McDonalds. They were also differently coloured. Jason liked colours.
It was the middle of the day and Jason gathered up the leaves into a pile, his father came out to greet him.
“How’s it going son?”
“Raking some leaves I see.”
Jason was only 6 and so wasn’t involved in deep conversations.
“Well, keep doing a good job.”
Then his father went back inside.
But there was a problem with the leaves. They were dead. Jason didn’t understand why such beauty could be revealed in death. He didn’t get it. But he liked the colours. The red, the orange, the yellows, they were such vibrant colours; it reminded him of fire. Ah, fire: the burning embers licking the sky or the top of the fireplace. Such beauty within the fire. He kept raking, thinking about fire.
Soon his mother came out to greet him.
“How’s it going Jay?”
“Well, when you’re done raking, you can come inside for lunch.”
Jason nodded and scooped up a pile of leaves which he dumped into the black bin beside him.
His mother went back inside.
The wind rustled through the trees. It was getting cold outside. Jason shivered a little as he gathered up some more leaves and dropped them in the bin.
His father came outside again.
“Son, you should probably eat now. Looks like a storm’s coming.”
Jason looked up at the sky. The clouds were filled with a dark grey and darkening as his eyes moved farther across the horizon.
“Okay,” Jason said, and he dropped his rake.
It poured that night. Rain came down in sheets and kept pounding Jason’s window all night. Jason woke up many times to hear rain thunder against the glass. Sometimes it sounded like someone was knocking. At one occasion of being awakened, he proceeded downstairs and opened the front door, thinking that there was someone there. There wasn’t.
The grass was very mucky the next day and so Jason decided that he didn’t need to rake leaves. He stayed in doors instead. After lunch, he decided to head outside and just breathe in the fresh air. He loved the taste of the air especially after a night of rainfall. He decided to walk down to the park. There was a park just across the street from where Jason lived and he used to always play baseball there with his friends. However, his friends preferred hockey. Jason wasn’t really interested in hockey and his friends mocked him about it.
“You’re Canadian, you have to like hockey.”
“But I don’t,” was his reply.
He never spoke more than he needed to.
As he ran down the mucky hill, he slipped, and his white Adidas shoes were smeared with mud.
Oh no, he thought. Mommy won’t be happy. He also discovered that he had tripped over a pile of leaves and one of the brown ones was attached to his shoe. He peeled it off. There was something strange about this leaf. On the front was a letter:
He couldn’t understand why, but it was there. Picking himself up from the mud, he headed home.
The next morning, the ground had dried up and Jason decided to rake some leaves again. It was Monday, so he began raking leaves after school was done. He loved school and painting with his hands. So many colours. He loved colours. He began raking leaves at around 5 PM, but as he headed down he noticed that two rakes were lying on the grass close to the shed. There were two rakes and the tops of their shafts were against each other. There was a stick in between the two shafts. Jason was very good at letters and thought it looked very much like an A. But he didn’t think much of it as he picked up his rake.
Tuesday, Jason had a fever He didn’t think it was that concerning but he was disappointed to miss school. They were gluing dry noodles to paper. It was a minor flu, and Jason’s day was mostly blowing his nose, eating hot soup, and drinking warm soothing tea with a hint of lemon and honey. He drank his tea in his favourite mug that had a large red S on the front. He loved colours and the S stood for Shape because there were so many different shapes and all in different colours on the back of the mug. The face of the mug was white and so the colours really stood out. His parents had purchased the mug for him once they found about his love for colours and shapes. Jason loved colours.
Wednesday, Jason was still sick, but getting better. He was ready to go to school but his mother insisted he didn’t. He knew his mother was right, so he stayed home.
Thursday, Jason went back to school and was really excited that they were doing more finger painting. Jason traced out circles around his paper in different colours. Jason loved colours.
Friday, it happened. He saw it on the sidewalk as he was walking home with his mother from school:
He found the N to be as curious as the J he saw on the leaf, but he didn’t think much of it. When he got home, Jason decided to take another stroll through the park and look at the beautiful colours before deciding to rake again. His father believed this would be the last batch because he knew his son had been working very hard and needed a break from raking for a few days. Besides, the last two bins were still waiting to be picked up and dumped.
As he crossed the street, a dump truck collided into his body as it made its way to pick up leaves. The last colour Jason ever saw was red. He smiled. He loved colours.