Fall’s Dark Spell Chapter 1

Lane said: “Autumn Ash, you know mom and dad expect you for Thanksgiving and you always him haw around because you’re still mooning over your long lost love.” My brother Lane was right

I still moon over my high school sweetheart Hunter Birch, we were inseparable, and he was my first of all firsts. I really thought we would be married after we earned our degrees. We kept in touch for the first two years and then the communication trickled until it completely stopped. I received my Veterinaries license and set up my practice in the next county over from where I grew up, in hopes that when Hunter received his license to practice medicine he would join the staff at the local hospital.

Mooning over someone, especially a distant memory of someone does not necessarily mean you are still in love with that person. You may be in love with the idea of the person or the relationship you remember. I have come to realize that adult relationships are different than those that are ensconced with hormones. Hunter was aptly named he loved to hunt. I, on the other hand, wanted to rescue animals of all types. Don’t get me wrong I believe in hunting as a form of herd management it is a far better way of staving off disease and starvation.

There is something about this time of year that brings a shadow to the relationship I am currently in. I met and fell in love with Dayton James a Detective on our local Sheriff’s department.  We are a couple but I can’t seem to move to the altar and say I do. I tell him it’s me and not him he smiles and says: “That’s what all the girls say.” Last year Dayton came with me to the Thanksgiving festivities. This year Dayton suggested I go alone and to make sure I take the time to go down memory lane in hopes of putting Hunter out of my head for good.

With my window open the air was scented with warm leaves and pine. The chipmunks were scurrying around gathering and eating as much as they can to build the fat they will need for the winter. All creatures’ great and small feast on nature’s buffet of berries, nuts, apples in hopes of building a layer of fat they will need until Spring.

I pulled over to the side of the road; there is a sign that points to Marl Lake area. Hunter took me to this spot late one evening around about this time of year. Hunter wanted to teach me to shoot a gun. I was not a very good student so he decided he would give me a specific target that I would pass regularly so I could see my improvement. I got out of the car and stood in front of the sign that had been replaced years ago. I stood there remembering how excited I was to have Hunter up close our bodies were warm touching each other, he snuggled in behind me as he does in bed. He held my arms out as I held the gun trying to aim for the sign.

He said to me: “Hold the gun the way I hold you, squeeze ever so slowly keeping your eyes open so you do not miss anything. Stare down the end of the barrel. Pretend you are making love and are zeroed in on making a bull’s eye.”

Just the thought of that moment made that memory fresh as though he were still standing behind me. At that moment I realized that I wished Dayton was here with me instead of Hunter. The idea of Hunter was slowly losing its charm.

I got back into the car and proceeded to Marl Lake. I had packed a lunch so I could sit on a rock for a while and reminisce. I texted my brother and told him I would be late and told him why. I could hear his eyes roll when he said: “Good grief. I will tell mom.”





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