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45 "Autumn Leaves" - a love story - the beginning-also read "46-final chapter".
When you find true love, hold on. Be sure to read the final chapter.
I was in town on business to attend a convention. As I sometimes do, I screwed up when making arrangements for attending this shindig, as they call any get-together down in this neck of the woods. (Note to myself, “Get a secretary”.) Anyway, I had made the necessary arrangements and reservations for the convention. I had just overlooked the fact that I would be in town for the next five days and four nights and I would need a place to sleep. It just never crossed my mind that the hotels would all be full and that it might be a good idea to reserve a room ahead of time. After all, I had to find someone to take care of my goldfish while I was gone. That was important. What was so bad is that there were several conventions in town at the same time and I guess I was the only dummy attending. Oh, there was also a big rodeo in town. After all, this was Texas.
So, I was driving along in my rented car when I came to a gas station and I decided to stop, not to ask directions mind you, after all, I’m a man and men never need directions. We always know where we’re going. We don’t know haw to plan worth a damn, but we always know where we’re going. I stopped to ask if the attendant knew where I might find a room for a few nights.
He pointed me in the direction down the road where just out of town, he said only 2 or 3 miles, there was 3 or 4 hotels that should have vacancies. I didn’t need gas, but I filled my tank out of courtesy for his time and information.
I found my way, because I’m a man, to the area he had directed me and like he said there were 4 hotels, actually motels, there and all seemed to have vacancies. I selected what appeared to be the nicest motel and checked in and it was now about 5:00 PM. I asked the lady behind the desk if there was any place within walking distance where a man could wet his whistle and maybe get some grub. (I’m in Texas, so that’s how I have to talk, isn’t it?) I said that I would prefer a place where you don’t have to fight your way out when you leave.
Her reply was, “’Bob’s’ place is just a short piece down the road and it’s one of the nicest and most peaceful places around.” She did warn me though not to stay ’till closing time because even “Bob’s” gets a little rowdy at that time of night. I let her know I wouldn’t be staying out that late anyway because I needed to get some sleep for I had to take care of some important business the next day. I said thank you, took my card key and went to my room.
I was able to park right in front of my room which made unloading easy. Once inside, since there were two beds and I was alone, which I am a lot, too much as a matter of fact, I just threw all my luggage on the extra bed. I looked around the room. It wasn’t really the kind of place I expected to be staying in for almost a week, but then, that was my mistake. I can’t blame anyone else, though I would like to, but then, what good would that do? It wouldn’t change anything to lay blame. Stuff happens.
I took a shower and freshened up a bit and then headed down the road to “Bob’s” place. It wasn’t far at all. I couldn’t miss it, there was a sign in bright red lights that said “BOB’S”.
I strolled into the bar. I’m not quite sure what it means to “stroll in”, but I had heard it in a song about San Antonio and I’m in Texas, so that’s what I did, I strolled into the bar. I parked my lanky frame upon a tall bar stool, I had heard that in a song somewhere too. Anyway, I sat on that tall stool at the bar.
The place was empty except for two guys shooting pool and a very nice looking young lady sitting around the bend at the other end of the bar. When I looked her way she smiled at me. There must be something about the bar, the atmosphere or just the fact that I am in Texas, but her smiling at me reminded me of something I had heard in another country song somewhere. The funny thing is, I don’t even listen to country music.
Anyway, the bartender came over to me and said, “You must be new around here.”
With a half smile I said, “Yep”, with a little drawl. There goes again, country stuff. I’m from New York, why is everything hitting me in a country style. My thinking, my speech, the country lyrics coming to me the way they do. It must be something in the Texas air.
Then the bartender introduced himself as “Bob”. I asked, “Are you “thee” “Bob”?”, as I pointed to the ceiling referring to the bar.
He said, “Yep, that’s me. Bartender, waiter, janitor and proprietor with a couple of waitresses when we get busy.”
I asked, “Is that one of your waitresses over yonder?”, indicating the young lady at the other end of the bar.
Bob answered with a firm “NOPE. She’s a pretty little filly that drops in every now and then, has two or three cocktails and leaves.” Again she smiles at me as Bob is talking, almost like she knew that we were talking about her.
Naturally I wanted to know if anyone ever came with her or met her there. Bob said no, but she will talk to men if they are civil to her.
“She does demand respect. But she never leaves with anyone, always alone. It seems everyone talks about he, but no one knows anything about her.” He points out that he does know her name is Autumn.
During our conversation, one of the guys that was shooting pool, cue still in hand, walked over to Autumn and I could see they were exchanging some idle conversation. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I could see her shake her head “no” and he politely turned and walked away. And then she looked back my way and gave me another very gracious smile.
I asked Bob, “Do you think I dare offer to buy her a drink?”
His reply was, “If you’re just looking for a little action for the night you would just be wasting your time and money. If you are looking for some enjoyable company along with good conversation, then go for it.”
She was very pretty and I would love some good conversation, so I asked Bob to mix up whatever she was drinking and take it to her and put it on my tab. With that I picked up my drink and sauntered over to where she was sitting. I introduced myself to her and asked if she minded if I joined her for a drink or two. Her answer was, “Of course not, I’ve been waiting for you to join me ever since I saw you walk through that door.”
So, once again I parked my lanky frame upon a tall bar stool, only this time it was next to a pretty young filly, as I hear they are referred to down here. (Though I found out later you never call one a filly. They don’t like being called a horse, for obvious reasons.)
I introduced myself and she confirmed what Bob had said, that her name was Autumn. I told her that I thought that was a pretty name. To be named after such a mellow time of the year, I felt she must be a very easy going woman. She replied with, “Thank you sir. I am very easy to get along with, as long as you don’t lie to me or cross me in any way. If someone does, then I can be “Hell on Wheels” and you wouldn’t want to be around me at that time.”
We talked and carried on conversation like we were old friends. I tried to explain to her what kind of business I was in and why I was in town. She proceeded to tell me about her two sisters, how she had lost both in a car accident and that she had been married once. She pointed out the fact that it hadn’t been a good marriage and that she had no plans to marry again, at least not for a long time.
As we talked Bob’s place managed to draw quite a crowd and we hardly even noticed or cared. We were so engrossed in our interesting conversation that there were only the two of us in the world at the time. Bob came over and informed us that he would be closing soon. We looked up and finally noticed that we were still on Earth. Other than Bob, we were the only two left in the bar.
Autumn and I talked a little longer. We both shared the fact that we both enjoyed each others company and it had been a very pleasant evening.
I thought to myself, ‘This is a woman that I could really get serious about’, even though I never did find out where she lived, her phone number, or even her last name. But I figured that I was going to be here at least 3 more nights. She said that if anything was meant to be, it would be like in the movie “Serendipity”. Whatever will happen will happen, it should be left to fate.
We said our goodbyes and it was an amazing sight as I watched how Autumn leaves a room. She looked as though she were an angel as the light hit her as she walked through the door. And I had it going through my mind as I watched her, that she would be here again the next night. I almost broke my neck running to the door to at least find out her last name. When I stuck my head out the door, she was no where in sight. It was like she vanished into thin air.
I barely made it through the next day, not just because of the late night, but because I was unable to get Autumn out of my head. She was all I could think of all day. I finished the day at the convention, not even knowing or caring what it was about, and rushed back to the motel to shower and freshen up, just knowing that when I walked into Bob’s place Autumn would be sitting there.
After what seemed like a lifetime, I finally walked in and parked my lanky frame on a tall bar stool, again. Only this time it didn’t seem so tall because I myself felt 10 feet tall because of her. She was a woman that could make any man feel that he was a God. I looked over where she had been the night before, but the stool was empty.
When Bob came over with my drink I asked him if Autumn had been in that day or evening. He shook his head and said, “Nope, not at all.”
I sat there ’till Bob closed up again, hoping. I came back the next night and the next too. Not feeling quite so tall now. It seemed that each night the stool was getting taller. I even stayed an extra 2 nights in hopes that she would walk through that door. No Autumn. I asked everyone if they might know where she lived. Either no one knew or no one would tell me. Bob reassured me that she was a woman of mystery. She never shared anything with anyone. He even told me that her night with me was the longest he had ever seen her spend with any one person.
I had to get back to New York to take care of the business that I actually think I would have given up for a life with Autumn. So I gave Bob my phone numbers, 7 in all, and asked him to give them to Autumn when or if she ever came back or for him to call me. He said he would.
So, here I am two years later still thinking of the woman that stole my heart in one night. I can’t get her off of my mind. I have even started listening to Country Music. I have never met a woman like her before or since. It’s amazing how the one woman I will probably never be able to have was able to steal my heart. Maybe I’m crazy, but all I can see when I close my eyes to sleep is the image of that evening and how “Autumn leaves” a room to vanish into the night air.