Written by Varrick Kwang
Art by Charlie CT
Jim, having spent his entire life in a tropical city, has never experienced anything outside of perpetually sweltering heat, humidity, and constant sweating. Moving to the City of Galeridge was a big move for him. Galeridge, aside from its cool weather, was also known for being a college town- a fun place for the young, unlike the old dull, hot city he lived in.
He had expected autumn to be beautiful. He imagined amber rays of the sunset illuminating a pretty falling of leaves all shades of brown. The variety of colours between the trees and the floor becomes a giant mural in autumn, like the way mass media romanticizes them to be.
Jim had wanted to have picnics with new friends, play frisbee and laugh over BBQ after a long day of studying. He had wanted to have heart-to-heart talks with cool people, like in those movies.
Just like how it was advertised. What a lie.
Perhaps he only had himself to blame for being so silly as to actually believe all of that.
In a cold city, it gets cooler and all the plants die. Leaves fall but the rays of sun that shine on them do not reflect the shades of gold-copper-brown like a prism and illuminate the city. At least, not in the way that magazines portray them.
When he had seen the mass of dried up leaves on the pavements and roads, he realized how irritating leaves are. Especially when eating outdoors in open space. It was for this reason that Jim chooses to eat inside a sheltered area or take it away to his rented apartment.
Jim didn’t see children pile up leaves to create a leaf-man the way they would to snow. In fact, most children in this city get grossed out by the look of a crusty, dead leaf. Either that or they step over them like they do not matter.
What makes it even worse for Jim is that Autumn brings a lot of rain. He can not enjoy a proper walk without being disturbed with rain pour soaking through his shoes no matter how big an umbrella he brings.
And the rain is Providence’s way of warming up the city’s population for the snow that will come during winter.
The rain before the storm, huh. Jim quipped with such a sardonic tone that is appreciated by only himself. Jim always wondered if this was why he did not have any close friends, or at least, friendships that lasted more than a couple of years.
Jim waited for the bus, making sure to stand further inside the bus stop so that the ripples of any rainwater that rolls off the shelter and hit the ground would not be able to splash onto him.
His ticket said 3:30 pm, and it was already half-past four. There was no sign of any bus approaching amongst the fog of rainwater.
“Shit.” Jim hissed, as he helplessly saw the time on his watch change to 4:31 pm.
Jim paced back and forth within the shelter of the bus stop, careful to avoid where rainwater had poured in. He looked at his watch once every few steps.
The time changed to 4:32 p.m. No bus.
Jim hastened his pacing, moving like a fly trapped in a glass cup.
A long while later, two rays of car lights flashed through the fog of rain, the image of a bus apparating along with it.
Jim’s frantic expression lightened into a smile. Jim flagged his arm out to stop the bus, and matched the bus number to the one stated on his ticket: Bus 773.
What a disappointing autumn and what a disappointing city. There was no point in lingering in this city. He had not seen any beauty in autumn, nor did he find any beauty in his attempts to bond with any of the city’s dwellers. He pledged to himself that he would never return to Galeridge, with the only souvenir worthy to be kept being the degree that he had studied for.