The Falling of Leaves

Untitled by Jace Youngbird of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College
Untitled by Jace Youngbird of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

Even the most turbulent storms eventually come to an end. A band-aid made of rainbows will temporarily cover the blue sky’s wounded soul, until it has healed and a bright new day begins. Ramona sat upon the weathered bench positioned between the withering trees in the park near the school. The sun was shining down as she delicately pressed her finger against the end call button on her cellphone, clasped in the sweaty, wet palm of her other hand.

Voices began to fill her head as she closed her eyes and succumbed to the inner darkness of her thoughts. The muffled words of her inner demons twisted and stretched out into mind-consuming muffles as they surrounded her head, offering food for thought and heart-felt condolences. It felt just like the day when her mother passed away and people brought soup and frybread to her house while offering words of sympathy to her family.

She felt a blanket of numbness press heavily against her skin, consuming her body, until there was no more room to grieve. Ramona reached aimlessly into the desolate air, attempting to cling onto the very fringe of the listless quilt, wanting to cover up and paralyze the newly forming sorrow exuding from within.

The fall season had just arrived and Theo followed directly behind as he casually made his way through the park. He trampled upon the beautiful clusters of red, yellow, and orange leaves that delightfully mapped out the direction towards the old wooden bench, the place where he first met his one true love. The heavy Oxford shoes tied onto his feet crunched against the dried-up grass as he approached the light haired Native beauty who glistened amongst the sunlight and created a dark shadow over a few of the fallen decamped leaves below her.

Theo felt Ramona’s freefalling tears puddle up inside of the concave indentation of his pointed upper lip as he kissed the jagged edge of her olive complected cheekbone. He knelt on one knee and pulled her in closer, feeling the air of melancholy which surrounded her.

Ramona was hunched over just like the unadorned trees all around her. She looked pale as the browns and reds of her skin disappeared, just like the colorful leaves had fell off the trees, leaving them naked and bare. Theo asked, “Didn’t you tell me to meet you at our favorite spot because you had some good news to share?” Ramona wiped her cheeks and closed her eyes as she prepared to answer.

Her spoken words hung onto Theo’s ears for a solid minute before tumbling ungracefully towards the cold hard ground to die. Ramona had been keeping a secret for the last two months. She wanted to meet Theo at their favorite spot, the spot where they first had met, and tell him she was pregnant with their first child. But as she waited on his arrival, the OB/GYN doctor had called to tell her that her tests were back from her last visit. She had slight cramping earlier in the week and a midwife assured her that it was nothing to worry about, but they would run some tests anyway and have her examined by the physician. Ramona’s bloodwork showed that she was miscarrying and the fetus inside of her would grow no more. A happy occasion suddenly became extremely sad.

Theo held Ramona in his arms on the splintered old park bench and they cried until they could cry no more. With his head between his hands, Theo looked down towards the ground, and said goodbye to a child he never even got to say hello to. There were no easy words to share with Ramona at that very moment. Besides, she was already listening to the demons offering their condolences inside of her head, and remained silent. Theo compared the loss of his unborn child to the leaves falling from the trees. Even the most beautiful of things must detach, sail away, and share their beauty in another place, if only for a little while. The fallen leaves beautify nature’s floor until Unci Maka’s (Grandmother Earth) breath blows their spirits to higher ground.

Darin G. Janis (Lakota) is a student at Oglala Lakota College.

Leave a Reply