45 "Autumn Leaves" - a love story - this also includes "46-final chapter".
When you find true love, hold on. Be sure to read the final chapter.
Chapter 1 - Autumn Leaves
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.
Chapter 2 - Autumn Leaves, Again
After two years of dreaming and wishing for a miracle, I was sitting in my office at my desk with my feet up, staring into space with my mind floating up there somewhere too. It was somewhere around 9 at night. Everyone was gone and it was very quiet. The phone rang and it seemed louder than normal and startled me to the point that I actually fell out of my chair.
I answered the phone, after I picked myself off the floor, with a simple, “Hello.”
I didn’t recognize the voice on the other end when it said, “I have some information about Autumn. She will be at Bob’s three nights from now.”
Then I heard a dial tone. Whoever it was hung up before I could ask any questions. Not knowing who it was, after two years of grief and suffering, I had to listen and couldn’t take a chance. This could just be a prank, but I couldn’t take that chance. I lost the opportunity to have the woman of my dreams once, I couldn’t take the chance of losing her again if there is any chance.
The next morning the first thing I did was to make reservations at the same motel. The woman recognized my name and said she would have their best room ready for me. Then I called the airport and car rental to make those reservations. I can’t believe myself, that I am able to do all of this with the excitement that is running through my body. The rest of the day was a fog. But I was able to get everything arranged to where I could be gone for the rest of the week without being missed.
The next morning came and I was in a taxi and on my way to the airport. Like the night before, while in the taxi, Autumn was running through my head constantly. I just couldn’t think of anything else.
Then, the same thing while I was on the plane. I would lay my head back and knowing what I was on my way to do, I could see those beautiful eyes and smell the aroma of here hair. If this woman wasn’t the Angel that I have always dreamed of, there would never be one for me.
I woke from my semi sleep and blissful picture of this woman of my dreams, the same dreams I have had for the last two years, as the plane touched down.
When I departed the plane I headed straight for the car rental, almost forgetting that I did bring one suitcase. I told myself I need to calm down a little. I did get the suitcase and then the car.
I drove to the motel and checked in, even though I was a day early, I was still in a hurry to get to Bob’s. I needed to talk to him. After I showered I made my way to Bob’s. I walked in and once again I parked my lanky frame on a tall bar stool.
Sure enough, Bob was there and remembered what I drank and came walking over with one for me. As he placed it in front of me he said, “I didn’t think I would ever see you in here again.”
I drew him the picture of how the night there with Autumn had affected me for the last two years. Then I explained how someone called and told me that she was going to be here tomorrow night and how I wasn’t going to take a chance. I said that I understood it could be a hoax, but then, it may not be.
Bob proceeded to tell me that he hadn’t seen hide nor hair of her since that night. He had no idea about who could have called with that kind of news. Bob did tell me though that as long as I was there the drinks were on the house. I didn’t stay too late because I knew she wasn’t supposed to be there that night. I thanked Bob and said good night before 10 and went back to the motel, turned on the TV and fell asleep.
The next morning upon rising, I dressed and went next door for breakfast. I was thinking I was so excited I wouldn’t be able to eat anyway. But, to my surprise, I was starving. After breakfast, an orange juice and three cups of coffee, I went back to my room. I asked myself, ‘What the hell am I going to do to kill time?’ This is going to be the longest day of my life.
I turned the TV on and watched news. I dozed off. The next thing I knew, the shadows outside were creeping across the windows. I sat up and looked at the clock. It was 5 o’clock. Not that I cared, but where had the day gone?
Again I showered and freshened up. I made my way over to Bob’s, walked in and just sat on the bar stool. That stool and I were becoming friends. Bob came over with a drink and, without me even asking, he shook his head and said, “No son, there has been no sign of her.”
I said, “You must think I’m crazy getting this way over a woman I really don’t even know.”
He replied with, “No, I could see how you two were with each other and how you both looked at each other that night two years ago. You may be crazy, but just crazy in love. That kind of crazy doesn’t happen very often.”
So for the next two hours I nursed my drink. If someone would have seen the way I was watching the door they would have thought I was a statue. For a few seconds I changed my position and took my eyes off the door. I heard Bob clear his throat and I looked at him. He nodded his head toward the door. I turned to look and there she stood, again with what appeared to be a glow around her, obviously from the lights outside. I sat there frozen on my friend the bar stool. I couldn’t move, waiting for her to continue inside. She looked at me and our eyes locked on each other for what seemed to be an eternity. Then as I was finally able to move, she turned and I watched as Autumn leaves, again.
I wasn’t about to lose her again. I came unglued from the barstool and went flying to the door. I stepped through the door this time. I wasn’t going to give up so easy this time. I went rushing out the door to look for her more this time. I ran right out into the parking lot. I didn’t see the car’s headlights until it was too late.
As the car hit me I remember thinking to myself, now I will never see her again. The next thing I knew, I was laying on the pavement on my back. I could see lights, but they didn’t appear to be normal lights. Then I saw a silhouette in those lights. I blinked my eyes several times before I realized that what I was seeing was Autumn. She offered her hand and as I reached to take it, she effortlessly helped me to stand with her. I turned around and looked on the ground and to my surprise I was still lying there with my eyes closed and I didn’t appear to be breathing. I looked at Autumn. I started to ask, “Does this mean that you are a real…….” without letting me finish she nodded and said, “Yes.”
I looked around at all of the people standing there. There was Bob, looking down at me shaking his head. I wanted to tell him that it was OK, I got what I came after. And with that, Autumn and I would leave together this time.
Note from the author;
Just always remember, there is still true love in this world. You just have to know where to find it and what to look for. You don’t really have to die to have the love of your life either, I know that for a fact.