David Rhoden

I lost my leaf.

by David Rhoden. Day .

Gina and I were eating breakfast at Satsuma on Burgundy Street, and she said "You have a leaf on your shirt." I saw that it was true, it was perched on my left shoulder.

I said "Yeah, that's my buddy, Leafie." and left it there.

We got home and it was still on me. Gina said "you still have that leaf on you" and went to brush it away.

"No way, don't mess with Leafie! LEAF him alone! I like him."

It was time to head back to my office so I got on my bike. About halfway through the ride I noticed Leafie was still with me. I thought, how funny; I guess I should brush this leaf off but now I want to see if he'll make it home with me.

But he didn't. I actually felt Leafie detach as I turned onto Tupelo Street. And I felt the strangest, stupidest moment of grief. I wanted him to make it home with me.

Did you see the move Cast Away? (spoilers) Remember how stupid it seemed when Tom Hanks went back to get Wilson? And how heart-breaking?

I let the leaf go. I bet I could have found him if I had looked.

What is it that makes us grieve over things we had and lost, that can't love us back or even talk to us? I'm thinking of dolls and things. (Dogs and cats can love you back, I'm convinced.) Why do we do that to ourselves? (Not everybody does.) We're responding not so much to the end of the "life" of the possessed thing but to the sudden lack of a place to put this pointless love that some of us carry around. We want our feelings to have meant something. I'm embarrassed by it, though. I'm appalled at my own sentimentality and how easy and quick it is to turn it on. It was a leaf.

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