The wind had turned cold but the leaves had yet to wrinkle and brown.
It was a bright and beautiful end of September day that normally would have brought a smile to his face, but he couldn’t bring himself to smile. Fall reminded him too much of the home he’d lost-the home that had been taken away from him.
It reminded him of those happy days when he and his friends would miss out on the first few days of classes on account of those extended weekends spent on camping trips; it reminded him of that one lake and those majestic mountains that overlooked it, the land eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first snowfall.
He missed those days as a student, when he would waste time with his friends in their vain attempts at productivity-chatting, griping and joking over coffee and cigarettes.
But it was the walks he missed the most: those long, solitary strolls he’d take on those visits home. Alone with the autumn chill and-most importantly-his music firmly in mind, he would spend hours exploring and re-exploring his town and the surrounding area.
On one such walk he stumbled upon a small forest nestled between his and another village that he felt should have been elsewhere.
But he had claimed it his anyway and would visit it often, retreating to it for inspiration and relief from the headache that was humanity.
Now he sat in a patch of green surrounded by a forest of grey, alone with his music but bereft of the final piece to make him whole during this most perfect of times.
No power on earth could return him to that spot without him losing even more than he’d already lost; the nostalgia wasn’t worth it.
Alone on a park bench he sat, alone with a device that played Brahms’ clarinet quintet, a piece that brought with it a torrent of memories both happy and painful.
The music would’ve brought him to tears as it had before, but he had grown used to venting his rage and frustration into it and was emotionally spent from all the years.
He sat on the bench with a passive yet pained stare-the clarinet ushering in the final, mournful chords of the quintet while he moved his thumb over to the repeat button and rose to his feet.