Shishir (Winter) 2020 Stories - Dillon Eliassen


Peak Foliage

By Dillon Eliassen


Ants in coveralls carried furniture, wall hangings, and knickknacks & bric-a-brac to their queen, who directed them this way or that. Pyrotechnic stars and tie-dye glowed upon the foothills across the street.

“There you are!” echoed around my furniture-devoid childhood bedroom.

“Hi, Dad,” I said.

“Whatcha doin’, Kiddo?”

“Just looking at the trees.”

“Peak Fall foliage really is breathtaking,” Dad said.

“Yeah, but so short. I wish the leaves would stay up and bright longer. They spend most of autumn on the ground waiting to be covered in snow.”

The ants picked up their pace, buffeted by a sudden gale that had delivered a large, gray, anvil-shaped cloud overhead.

Dad came up alongside me, “Hey, turn that frown upside down, Kiddo…” He kissed my forehead. “Mom and I are very, very happy you came. You’ve been a big help. Want a grilled cheese?”

I shook my head. Dad put his arm around my side and the threatening cumulonimbus dissipated. We watched the procession leading to Mom, whose regal bearing did not waver despite standing between a dumpster and a moving truck parked side by side in the driveway.

“Mom doesn’t trust you to have a say in what stays and what goes?”

“No, I trust Mom to do it without me having to supervise her.”

I snorted a laugh.

“Aaw, there’s my happy, sweet cub,” Dad said, then growled, “I’m gonna squeeze the honey right out of you,” and wrapped me in one of Dad’s Famous Bear Hugs.

“Ouch, Dad!” I hollered. “Jeez…”

“You see this ol’ grizzly bear’s still got some strength left.”

“I can’t believe you’re really retiring,” I said as Dad let me go.

“Believe it, Kiddo,” Dad said, and slid his arm around my side again so we could watch the breeze toss the tree crowns along the foothills. “I enjoyed doing those genealogy projects when I was laid up last year so much, I thought, ‘I could do this all day, every day.’ Mom already has her ceramics and pottery and we have a big enough nest egg, so what the heck? I’m really looking forward to it!”

“I wish it could stay like this forever,” I whispered.

“They’re red and yellow now, Kiddo,” Dad said. “Whether they fall next week, tomorrow, or in five minutes, they’re red and yellow now.”

Lava lamp wax blobs danced a bolero up and down and around one another.


Dillon Eliassen from USA is an emerging fiction writer and has published a novel "The Apathetic" through Amazon. She is studying for her Masters in American Literature graduate degree at Montclair State University.


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