David stood on the porch and watched the last orange leaf break loose and tumble to the ground.
He sighed. It was official. Agnes had been gone for a year.
He watched Matilda ride by on her bike, her long hair flying behind her. Her feet couldn’t reach the ground while she sat on the bike, but she was determined to ride it anyway. She was a big girl. She was four.
He sat down on the top step of the porch and watched the leaf dance in the light autumn breeze. It tumbled around and around until it reached the middle of the street. A car drove by, crushing the leaf beneath its tires.
Matilda rode by again, going the other way. Her laughter filled the chilly air.
He watched her face as she rode up and down the sidewalk. Her face that no longer looked like the face of a baby. The chubbiness of her cheeks was gone. Her body had leaned out. She was no longer a baby or a toddler. She was a little girl.
Matilda didn’t ask about her mother any more. To her, Agnes was simply gone. He doubted his little girl even thought about her mother these days. The smile that lit up her face was genuine. She was happy. She had her daddy, and he was all she needed.
He watched her speed by once again, and then he looked at the remnants of the last leaf scattered about the quiet street. He was done. He would no longer look for her face in crowds of people. He would no longer wonder if it was her every time the phone rang. He would no longer let himself dwell on what he did wrong, what he could have done differently to make her stay. He would no longer punish himself for Agnes leaving.
David stood up and called out, “Mattie! Let’s go get some ice cream.”
She pedaled up the driveway excitedly and parked her bike at the bottom of the porch. She climbed the steps so she was standing right in front of David, and she took his hand.
“Yes daddy. That is a great idea.”
This week’s Red Writing Hood prompt was: Labor Day weekend is almost upon us. It is a time of transition: summer to fall, kids back to school, no more wearing white. For this week’s prompt, write about a season of change for your character or you. It can be literal or metaphorical.
This is a continuation of the story, Finding Agnes. Additional parts of the story can be found on the Fiction page of this blog. As always, constructive criticism is welcome and greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!