Changing Seasons
By: Candy-Ann Little

When autumn finally arrived I thought I was over you. As I put away my shorts, tank tops and flip-flops I thought about our first meeting. How my group of friends had met your gang at the beach.
The August sun heated the sand until it burned my feet. We sat talking on a blanket under a large umbrella while everyone else went swimming.
“Are you sure you don’t want to go swimming?” You smiled brighter than the sun.
“No, it’s too cold. But you go ahead.” I’d been surprised you’d sat with me as long as you did.
“What if I carry you over the sand and we can wade in up to our ankles.”
Then in true gentleman fashion you scooped me up and carried me across the scorching sand only to dunk me in the freezing water. We laughed and splashed like children.
When the sun set that day I knew we’d started something special. We spent every minute we could together. Dinners, movies, concerts, long walks and talking on the phone. As autumn turned the world into a kaleidoscope of colors, you turned my life into a quilt of love. Each day new and exciting.
Thanksgiving seemed extra special. I took you back to the farm I grew up on and introduced you to my family. Being a football buff you fit right in with my dad, brothers, uncles and cousins who watch the sport religiously. Of course my mom, sisters and aunts were taken by your incredible good looks.
“His eyes are so blue,” my aunt commented.
“And that wavy, blond hair,” my sister cooed. “He’s like a dream come true.”
“Well, he’s my dream,” I teased. “You can’t have him.”
“He’s tastier than that turkey mom’s basting.” She winked.
Mom stiffened, taking pride in preparing a flawless dinner.
The turkey, stuffing and potatoes were done to a chef’s delight, but nothing compared with the pride I felt in my heart.
Winter descended with its icy cold temperatures and blinding snowstorms. Yet, not even the frigid weather seemed to dent our growing romance. Long nights in front of the fireplace talking about the future warmed my life.
Christmas morning you arrived with a devilish grin and a small package. “Merry Christmas, Lauren.”
“What’s this?”
“Your present, silly. Hurry up and open it.”
I unwrapped the shiny green paper. “Oh, Brian! You shouldn’t have.” Inside lay the most beautiful emerald necklace.
“Green is your favorite color, right?” You clasped it around my neck.
I cried at your generosity, feeling ashamed that all I’d gotten you was a sweater and some cologne.
It was a wonderful holiday even if meeting your family turned out to be an unpleasant ordeal. You were their blond god, and I felt plain. Ordinary. Boring. Unattractive. But I struggled through the snide remarks with dignity and grace because you didn’t seem to pay them any attention. Although a secret part of me wanted you to defend me, it was enough that you still loved me.
Your love helped me overcome my inhibitions. I felt confident for the first time in my life. And, I wanted you to be proud of me. So I cut my shoulder length hair into an attractive bob that flipped out in the latest style. My dull brown was colored with a bright blond. I even got contacts and stopped hiding behind gold-framed glasses.
“Your brown eyes are gorgeous.” You pulled me close. “And the glasses don’t get in the way when we do this.” You kissed me softly.
For New Years’ Eve I shed my drab wool suit and dressed in a sexy black sheath. I wanted to start this year off differently. I knew this year would change my life. And it did. Just not in the way I’d hoped.
As winter dragged on our relationship started changing. Or more accurately, you changed. I tried desperately to hold on, but you seemed to slip further away. Maybe your family’s barbs had hit your heart after all. Maybe you’d just grown tired of me.
By the time spring arrived, I’d given up on trying to please you. Nothing I did seemed right. Yet, I couldn’t let you go. My self worth was wrapped up in our relationship. Like flower blossoms need a stem, and leaf buds need a tree, I needed you. I thought I’d die if you left me. In truth your love was killing me. Slowly smothering my heart, until I had no joy left in my life. A black cloud of doom hung overhead, ready to destroy like a tornado.
Summer arrived with hotter days, but our love was frigid as a frozen lake. Ten months after our love affair began you left me for another woman.
“I just don’t love you anymore,” you blurted out. “You’re dull. I did need more excitement in my life.”
Tears stung my eyes with each insult you fired, leaving me in a huddled emotional heap.
“I don’t want to be mean, but I can’t stand how you cling to me. I need some space.” As you sauntered out of my life forever, I wondered what I ever saw in you. Apparently you only cared about your own selfish needs. That wasn’t love. Not the kind I wanted. Certainly not the kind I deserved.
Summer seemed to drone on in an endless blaze of heat, scorching everything but my memories of you. We had come full circle. Our love started in summer, growing and blossoming over the changing seasons. Now it lay dead as the wilted flowers and brown grass.
As I pack my summer things, I’m putting away our lost romance also. I’ll box it up and set it in a deserted section of my heart. Filed away with other lessons learned in life.
“Lauren, are you ready?” John whistled. “You look fantastic.”
“You always say that.” I pulled on a knit sweater, relishing the soft warmth.
“That’s because I waited a long time for you to finally notice me.” He winked.
“It wasn’t that long.” I smiled back. As I took your best friend’s hand, the autumn sun reflected off my engagement ring. It was a new season and I had a real romance.

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