While I was gone Summer packed her things and went away and in her place Fall stands in boots and plaid, patiently waiting while I pack away my swelterweight belongings and haul out jeans, Docs and a cozy long sweater.
I've missed you, Bridget, he says and I smile because I technically hate hot weather. It makes me sick to my stomach. He's so handsome. If only he would stick around longer, keeping me in brightly colored leaves and hot chocolate and the soft pre-Christmas, post-Halloween glow, I might never wish for anything else.
I wish I had known you were coming, I lecture him as I rush around bringing in candles off the porch and putting away water toys and swim towels. Flipflops and summer rain jackets go up to their owner's respective closets and midweight coats and corduroy comes back. Plaid flannel is suddenly not a torture device but a damn fine fashion choice.
Beards are formally invited to grow back and grow long.
Fingers are always kissed and freezing.
Coffee is welcome around the clock, preferably with something else mixed in.
Not like we have to winterize like at the castle with the closing of doors, cordoning off of entire areas and putting up storm windows. Worrying about the ancient furnace and the remaining unprotected windows, tucking just another layer of quilts onto the beds. Finding cats in the closets, burrowed into things that fall off hangers.
No, here, Henry probably will stick to shorts until it snows, the furnace stays off until mid-October and Halloween is coats-optional.
I really love it. I love it when school goes back into session too but they're still working on that.
And I love a guy who decided the wood he cut in April wasn't actually enough after all and he's back out there at it again. But mostly not because we need wood any time soon but because it's best to face one's adversaries when one has a very sharp ax in one's hand, ready to grind.
When my feet hit the ground, Lochlan pointed at them and said, They stay there. On the ground. No more, Peanut. None of this. He doesn't need you.
I showed him my prizes and still he was not swayed.
You belong with me, he said, and that's all he would say before he resumed making the woodpile taller than the garage. And that has a second floor. And Joel still lives there, sadly enough. I was hoping when I came back he'd be gone.
Ben said to let it all be, that Fall seems to be smoothing things out, that he is such a peacemaker where Summer makes people somewhat crazy and prone to being short-tempered and hasty. Fall, by comparison is chill.
He made me laugh, personifying it the same way I do.
Missed you, Little Bee, he said, delighted that he made me laugh right off the bat. Let's go pry the weapons out of Loch's hands and have a reunion dinner. It's going to be a busy week with birthdays, tonight is probably our only chance.