Old Skin

Fall had come, and close to its end, it approached. The air became brisk, with winter awaiting in the future, and as a girl wandered down the sidewalk, autumn's old skin shifted through the air above her maple hair. She was quiet, squinting at the oncoming winds, her nose, and cheeks the color of the red surrounding her. In her right hand, she cradled something like school papers, crunched into one collective. On her left, she held a ball, black and white. On her feet, tied tight were two vibrant cleats, clomping across the concrete, going silent each time they sunk into a crack. This time of year she waited barely five minutes before bundling after a game, engulfing her blotchy legs in fleece sweats, and her shaky shoulders in school spirit. She always walked against the wind, with the valley behind her, all those small cottages warm and a-glow. Her cottage sat in a dark secluded corner by the forest, over the hill, over yonder. She couldn't pinpoint it. But she knew her way, though it was a hike. She appreciated its lengthiness, unlike one might. It gave her time to observe, and then appreciate, many things, the sky, the ground, whatever lay just beyond her sight. 

As she walked, she made sure to do it in silence. She watched the leaves fall, and eventually, ages later in her mind, and to her surprise, snow began to replace the orange landscape with a raging ballet of flurries, jumping through the air. It was beautiful, and long-held its arrival had been. Though she was cold, she felt warmth in it finally arriving. Now came the season for music, and warmth indoors. She could almost feel the wood stove raging next to her as she enjoyed a book, or the hot cider slipping down her throat, to hibernate in her stomach. 

She closed her eyes and let the snow patter on her rosy eyelids. Then, she proceeded to walk into the winter abyss beyond her cleats.


Isi Gibson


14 years old

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