The Autumn Bridge

The Autumn Bridge

A Story by Mila
"

The bridge between life and death is really nothing more than one covered in the colors of autumn, as told through a vivid memory.

"

The Autumn Bridge


I remember... I first met him when crossing the bridge over the river. The structure itself was a simple thing, but when coupled with the beauty of the seasons reflected in the clear water of the flowing river beneath it, it was rather beautiful.

 

There were many myths about the running water of rivers. They trapped spirits and the vampires of myth could not cross over it. In many ways, it could have been a prison. I always thought it odd that a body of water that never stopped flowing for anything could be considered a prison. And it was autumn, and the trees were so many different colors…how could a prison be so beautiful?

 

His name was a whisper on a few lips. Sometimes I had a strange theory that I was the only one who knew him, and that made it even more romantic. It made it interesting and different. It was an odd thing that I was in the same situation as him. No one knew who I was either. I could only speak my name now and, even then, I never did.

 

I remember what I was wearing the day I met him. I always wore it. It was my favorite dress. Yellow, red, and orange, it reflected the colors of autumn. Anything that reflected autumn was a favorite thing of mine.

 

He had complimented me on it with a mischievous smile on his lips. He would have made me blush, if I could.

 

“Perhaps I will fall off this bridge because I can’t stop staring at you in that dress.”

 

He winked at me then. I was at a loss for words.

 

“Do you come here often?”

 

I shook my head, though it was a lie. In fact, I crossed this bridge every day. It was a tradition of mine. It was, very likely, the only distinct path I walked in my years of life; the only path I knew for sure the way of. I had never seen him here, though, and that made me frown.

 

“I never come this way.” He had answered my thoughts as though he had read them, “I’ve never had a reason to.”

 

“Do you need a reason?”

 

“Everything needs to have a reason.” He replied, his voice only slightly distant, “Our meeting must have had one, don’t you think?”

 

I did not think so, “I think it was by chance and nothing else.”

 

I didn’t know why I said that, but he was ready with a reply, “Even so, my dear, now I have a reason to come back if you do. If I return this way at this exact time tomorrow, will I see you?”

 

It was an odd question to me, for no one had ever been so curious about my daily schedule. But, then again, no one ever saw me. I was…invisible, to say the least. I was an entity of this world that people often ignored or denied the existence of. I knew they could see me…but they never saw me as I was. It was refreshing to have him notice me, for such a life was one I had deemed lonely a long time ago.

 

In the end, I nodded, and he bid me farewell. I did not see him leave, but I knew that I would meet him again. It was an unspoken promise that was between the both of us only, and no one else ever had to know.

 

He came again the next day with a yellow rose. “Red is beautiful, but yellow is different and ethereal, like you.”

 

“It matches autumn.” I noted, taking the rose with a smile. I then placed it in my hair, causing him to share the most beautiful of smiles with me.

 

The days passed in this way. I came to the bridge and he was already there, ready with a yellow rose. We never met twice in the same day because we had our own paths to walk. We had short conversations and rarely spoke of our pasts. We were mysteries to one another. Perhaps that was the beauty of it.

 

Autumn grew and grew, and I felt as though I loved a stranger.  Whether that was torture or a blessing was yet another mystery.

 

Autumn seemed to be a beautiful time of year. It was the only one that held little certainty. Though many would argue that winter was, by far, the most uncertain of turbulent seasons, no one could reckon the colors of autumn, or how it would change the landscape. Things that no one ever noticed became the object of everyone’s respective affections. The smallest tree in a grove of large ones sported the brightest colors and, for once, no one bothered to criticize how small its trunk was. Everything was beautiful, even the prospect of an impossible love between two strangers.

 

“I could take a canvas, and paint every detail of this forest,” He said one time, “And none of it would match up to having a portrait painted of you looking at all of it.”

 

“I can’t imagine that.” I replied cynically, “I am not so interesting to look at, and hardly more so than autumn.”

 

“Why would you say that?”

 

“My life wasn’t ever about people finding me so…attractive. Or even eye catching for that matter.” Despite that, I had to smile, “Besides, how can someone compare a swan to an ugly duckling?”

 

“Who would be the swan?”

 

“Not me.” I laughed, “I’m far too uninteresting.”

 

“But you aren’t the ugly duckling either.” He smiled, “You’re the farthest thing from it.”

 

“I don’t see it. I’m too invisible.”

 

“No. You’re too beautiful to be an ugly duckling or a swan. That is what you are.” His eyes held a sense of finality that even I could not deny, “Trust me.”

 

I did. I trusted him more than I thought logical. The trees around us were a multitude of different colors, just like the different ways I found myself trusting him.

 

I never saw him approach the bridge. He never saw me leave. We would turn our backs and never glance at one another. Neither of us wanted to accept that, one day, a very murky truth would have to be revealed. The days I found myself thinking about it were the days that seemed darker even when there was no night. Reality was like a gust of winter wind in the midst of high summer. A dead flower during spring. Reality wasn’t the enemy, but it wasn’t the friend either.

 

We both agreed that the mystery was the best part. Not knowing what could ruin everything was more of a blessing than having to face it. Autumn was too beautiful for our love to be ruined by the truths that we denied to tell.  

 

“A life lived in mystery is not a life wasted.” He would say, and I agreed, though I knew that it wasn’t the right choice.

 

It was a life of mystery we continued to observe…but the truth had to be revealed. I sensed it and so did he. Our conversations would be a constant dance between words, trying to distract each other from blurting out what we knew needed to be said. The bridge held a strong foundation, but ours was crumbling beneath our feet.

 

The season continued on as beautiful as ever, unaware of our woes and strife. For what did the world care of us? It would always continue on as the lives within it shattered one after the other. Who were we to stop it? What was it to care?

 

We were constantly living life oblivious only to die knowing. Our final breaths were words spoken of truth. The colors of fall were beautiful, but really they were the representation of death. And death was beautiful. Death was a stunning collaboration of color. Death came with a beauty that took the breath out of anyone who saw it. Winter would darken the skies soon, and still we would fondly remember autumn, but not what it represented. Winter was the truth that we were trying to run from. But we couldn’t run forever.

 

The world waited for no one.

 

The bridge grew distant as he took me to the cemetery just before the beginning of the end of autumn. The trees were starting to grow bare, but a scattering of multicolored autumn leaves remained on the ground and branches. Birds chirped and the petals of flowers decorated the path. I did not know this path as well. The one to the bridge was the only one I walked with certainty. But little did I know, this path was his and mine both. It was the one we had walked together for the first time.

 

“We cannot be nameless forever.” He said, “And I can think of no better way to introduce myself.”

 

I knew that he was right, but still I was confused. This had been my way of introducing myself to him. How had he known? How was his the same?

 

“They say ‘til death do us part.” He whispered, caressing my face as he led me to stand before two unmarked graves, “I parted with no one from life. I died last autumn, my dear. And this is my bridge.”

 

I looked then at what he indicated to. The grave I saw was, indeed, nameless save for the date he had died on carved in the dark marble. The ground around it was bare except for the fallen leaves. They circled around the gravestone, and it was an ethereally ironic sight to behold. The dead were guarding the dead, but who would ever see it that way?

 

I knew for a fact that, had that same ground not been so horrifically familiar to me, I would have seen it just like that. Alas, all I saw was what I had meant to show him. It was only a terrible coincidence that our truths clashed into the reality that we had tried too hard to avoid.

 

I felt tears sting my eyes. Breathing, or the lack of it, was not an issue, but the hollowness that I had ignored to feel for all these years of walking that path to the bridge came in a rush that nearly knocked me off my feet. My body shook, though there was no fear of falling. In the sorrow, I could hardly hear myself weeping.

 

He held me close, thinking that it was him that I wept for. He thought that it was his death that brought me the pain that I couldn’t really feel. I knew that it should have been that. For everything that had been taken, the only thing that I had to give was sympathy and warmth. I wished that he was the reason I mourned and cried the way I did. But the world didn’t grant wishes, it mocked them.

 

“ ‘Til death do us meet.” I sobbed in his chest, “Autumn is my bridge as well, my love. It’s my unmarked grave next to yours.”

 

Indeed, he saw it with certainty, as it was the grave decorated with the roses he had given me, only I had not put them there. I heard him break down as well, and the beauty of the world around slowly began to shatter.

 

Autumn was now the face of death.

 

We stood there for the longest time, holding each other and sobbing. If we had hearts, they would have beat together in a symphony that no one would ever hear. He was more myself than I had ever known. We both lived and died in autumn, and had he never saw fit to walk that bridge, neither of us would have ever realized that we were never truly alone. I would have walked that path forever and never known that there was another meant to walk it as well.

 

We never saw each other leave when it was over, because we faded as one.

 

We were laid to rest together, two strangers with unmarked graves.

 

The next day, the bridge awaited us both, but it was no longer autumn. 

© 2014 Mila


Author's Note

Mila
This story was actually inspired by my favorite season, which is autumn. I love romances, but I try to keep things out of the cliche as much as I can :) I hope you enjoyed!
This was also my entry into the Narrative Magazine Fall Short Stories Contest for 2014. Whether I win or not, I'm pretty proud of this!
There is a news post in my blog, but I will have a new one up sometime this week!
Read, review, let me know how it was! :) <3
Reviews=motivation!

-Mila

My Review

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Featured Review

A life lived in mystery is not a life wasted. this line was amazing
This story held so many beautiful romance between its arms, and the love you showed here was amazing.. i loved this , like really LOVED IT.. it is added to my favorites...
well done ..
and one more thing.. the last 3 lines are suburb..

Posted 6 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Awww thank you! Your comments were so sweet and awesome! :)
stars are far

6 Years Ago

its always my pleasure, to read such great work :)
keep it coming :)



Reviews

This is a marvelous depiction of autumn and the discovery of oneness through sharing. Even beyond the grave our energy is drawn to kindred spirits. A lovely thought, and the scene is well played.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

5 Years Ago

Thank you!!
This is great. Despite the fact that we know next to nothing about either character, it is poignant. Their love is sweet and feels real. It's well written too. Also, I totally agree with stars are far; the last three lines are perfect.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much! :)
That was very good!!!! Maybe even a winner

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Thank you!! :)
This made me very sad, it was so happy at first then well then the end happened..... It was beautiful and well written, good job.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Thank you very much!
This is almost professional, but for the most part, beautiful. I could see every detail in the back of my head, I could feel the cold vibes of autumn skies, it was all there.
Thank you for this beautiful masterpiece.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much for your kind words! :)
Jonas

6 Years Ago

Only if I could say more.
Congratulations!
This piece is a finalist in Promote Me! IX.
By 1.31.2015, vote for this piece here: http://www.writerscafe.org/contests/Promote-Me%21-IX-%28Seasons%29/50662/

Posted 6 Years Ago


SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

Congrats Mila!
Mila

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much!!
This is simply stunning. I found myself wanting more, but the years went by so fast. You could make a fabulous novel out of this. I think you deserve to win.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Thank you very much! :)
Pinkhorses22

6 Years Ago

Is there any way I can make my writing better? By the way, I am completely aware of the unfinished .. read more
Mila

6 Years Ago

I'll take a look when I get time and see how much help I can be! :)
That was amazing. Absolutely, incredibly amazing and you should be proud of this piece. The ending was so unexpected and so bittersweet. I loved the writing. I loved the vocabulary. I loved the interactions and the mysteriousness of the stranger. I don't think I could find anything wrong with it even if I tried. One of my most favourite reads in a long time!

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Thanks very much!! :):)
I liked your use of language. This caught me and I found it particularly cool: ‘the vampires of myth could not cross over it. In many ways, it could have been a prison. I always thought it odd that a body of water that never stopped flowing for anything could be considered a prison.’ I see a lot of attempts at stories that are centered on romance and they tend to be rather cliché and overdone. You did a good job of not doing that, heh. I felt a very old style courtship and slow-paced build up here that kept it interesting (chivalry). I also liked how humble the narrator was, very unaware of herself and self-conscious (closer to what people really are like these days and thus relatable). The end twist was really unique and interesting. I left me sort of pondering life in a weird way. Great read, thanks!

Suggestions:

“had tried to hard to avid” Too. Avoid.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Thank you! And thanks for that, can't believe I missed those!
Glad you enjoyed, and thanks for.. read more
Meat of Dog

6 Years Ago

No problem, any time!
WOW. Such a surreal, atmospheric write. I didn't see that twist coming. There is a bit of tragic romance to it and that wonderful haunting chill throughout.
Beautifully penned.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mila

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much! :)

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Added on September 20, 2014
Last Updated on December 9, 2014
Tags: Autumn, Love, Twist, Story, Fall

Author

Mila
Mila

St. Louis , MO



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ALL WINNERS FROM MY CONTESTS WILL HAVE THIER WORKS FEATURED ON MY WATTPAD ANTHOLOGY WITH FULL CREDIT GIVEN TO THEM! PLEASE LET ME KNOW WELL BEFORE HAND IF YOU DO NOT WANT ME TO FEATURE YOUR WORK! A.. more..

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