I’m the last one, waiting.
Next door they’ve all been gone a week or more, almost two now, I suppose. Actually yes, I remember, it was last Monday. Started calm and almost-bright, but the clouds rolled in at lunchtime and with them strong gusts. Took every last one of the neighbours. Brutal to see them go, really. Always liked those guys. My own lot I wasn’t so pally with. They looked down on me, you know, from their upper floors, a few of them loved to gloat about their superior view. Well last Monday, you should have seen those lofty bastards fly. Sure made me chuckle. By the end of that day we were two, me and J. He was a good guy, real good guy actually, but he didn’t stick around. Must’ve been just holding on, because the next day, bright and calm as it was, quietly, with no words, he left. So lightly he went, as if he simply floated off. So that’s it then. Here I am, numero uno, hanging in there.
Of course there are others around, it’s not like I’m the last on earth or anything. Hyde park’s west wall is in sight, and you know, other side of there is always gonna be a party. You got em all packed in. Even the perennials who don’t know how to leave at all, let alone gracefully.
No we never mixed much, kept things local, on the street. There were a few other side of the road I got on well with, lived just beside The Champion, but I’ve not been good at keeping in touch. It is such a damn pain to hold a conversation with the Red Beasts hurtling past every coupla minutes. You wonder if it’s worth the effort. I don’t even know if they’re still around or if they’re flown off too. Helped on their way by those bloody Beasts.
I shiver. Tell you what, I might never have been best of pals with them, but they sure did keep things cosy round here. All tucked in we were. No shelter now, not a hint of it. Kinda surprised I’m still here, I gotta say. Ten days since J left. Ten days alone. Really got me thinking you know, questioning things. Like, what is the point of it all? I know, I know, bloody philosopher right? Well I didn’t have much company, did I? Then that got me thinking, maybe there’s a reason why I outlasted all the others. Maybe I’ve a job to do. Well I pondered that for all of a morning, then it just kinda passed. I went on admiring the skies, and enjoying the sharp sensation of cold on all of my exposed bits, even though it hurt too.
It is almost time now. I can feel my grip sliding. As it happens, night is sliding into day, frosty blue light with just a tinkling of breeze. Caught by a sudden urge, and after many days of silence (well, who was I to converse with?), I speak aloud.
This is my home. Here. The tree by the bus stop in Notting Hill. This is my home.
I’ve got this warmth spreading through me. You see I have worked it out, I know what I’m going to do. I am going to descend to earth now, and as I do, I am going to carve out the most beautiful arcs through the air that any leaf has ever carved. I just hope that somebody’s going to see them.