It has been 21 months since they met. Neither of them have spoken to each other after their goodbyes on that fall afternoon. She didn’t have a reason to call him- he had given her a broken leaf. He didn’t have a reason to reach out- she had dropped the leaf right in front of him and said, “Sometimes, it’s enough to be moved from where we first fall.”
When he had recounted his story to me, unlike most days, I did not have a lot to say. I said, “That’s a nice line- I could use it on this new script I am writing.”
He stayed for dinner and he had lightened up by the time he left.
It was out of character for my brother to compare people with broken leaves and to tell her that the broken ones also needed to be picked up. It was out of character for him to even give her that leaf in the first place. This probably was why I laughed it off, but I could not disagree that he had made a point. I also could not disagree that she had a point.
I went back to my work, and for a while considered the idea of using her words. It had been a while since I had last used a conversation that I had overheard. The idea was quite tempting but I decided not to.
It’s people like me that words have their power over, and to be honest I don’t mind them exercising their power on me because once I know what they mean, I feel equally powerful. 21 months later, while my brother has forgotten all about her, the words of a woman I never met are still with me.
I don’t think of my brother’s words that often. Perhaps, because they were very much similar to something I would have said. It’s her words that make me uncomfortable. Dropping the leaf she had said, “Sometimes, it’s enough to be moved from where you first fall.” Like my brother, she was not just talking about leaves. I wonder if her simile was a little flawed or there is a missing piece that completes this comparison. And I have so much more to say today than I had 21 month ago.
If she thinks that it is enough that we just move the broken ones from where they first fall, I want to ask her what she thinks is the job of that chilly autumn wind. It seems to me that these winds do a much better job by carrying them farther away from the place of their fall than a person ever would.
Who would be that to a person, what the wind is to the leaf?
Would there even be a difference between the wind that blows you far far away and something that picks you up and drops you off two inches from your place of fall?
Is there something more special about being picked up and dropped off than being carried by the wind with the rest even if it means you will be dropped not that far from your fall?
Maybe there is something more in the very action of being lifted than in being blown away. Maybe, the difference between being blown away and being picked up is the same as the difference between moving away and moving on. Moving away, you are blown by the wind with the rest, moving on is something fighting gravity for you and giving you a place to start again.
One might still consider this a flawed comparison as moving on is personal and nothing else is lifting you up as in the case of the leaf. But what if I say that in the act of moving on you are creating something entirely new that is lifting you up and fighting the force that constantly pulls you back to where you started. Would it work then?