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I Found Her | Marisela Gomez

A woman made of fall leaves keeps visiting my dreams. It's strange, I can't see a clear female body, but I know that it is a woman made from the most beautiful fall leaves. A mixture of green, lime green, yellow, magenta and purple; pure crisp perfection. She wants to tell me something, but taking a step closer would induce an overwhelming satisfaction. Instead, I remain and admire her strangeness, as she claims her ground beneath a stunning sycamore tree. The same tree that used to live in my backyard before my husband decided to replace it with a white, lifeless gazebo. He assured that a gazebo would give me a calm place to write. Calm. He said calm.

“Honey, are you almost done writing?” My husband asks for the fifth time today, placing a warm cup of rose tea on the sheep coaster he bought to match my olive-green desk. White, fluffy sheep and deep, olive-green go perfectly together, like a marvelous, tender, fresh field day on the hills of Ireland. We met on a summer writing camp in Ireland; he likes to remind me of our beginning.

He looks at the blank page on my screen and my multiple, crisp drawings blending with the surface of my desk. “More leaves,” he says while gathering my delicate, vibrant drawings and placing them in the bottom, right, desk drawer; my tree bin. His words. Filling my mouth with rose tea and absorbing the warmth, letting it simmer. He tilts his head slightly to the right and gives me his usual long stare. I bet if we had children they would have his leering eyes, constantly demanding me to be more. “Honey, please. No more distractions or you won’t meet your deadline. You don’t want to disappoint your readers,” he says as he gives me a kiss on my right cheek and walks out of my studio.

As if I need another reminder about my never-ending deadlines. The empty page is enough. Write, but without a character there’s nothing. Scavenging the dark corners of my mind for someone special, someone untouchable and someone as strange as my woman made of leaves. Maybe I should think about a character that will tell her husband to go fuck off. That’s it, I found her. A woman willing to take over her husband’s kitchen and paste herself across his house. Loud, she needs to be loud as she whisks her words between the pages of her story.

No, that woman wouldn’t be strange enough to be considered beautiful. Only my strange woman devouring my dreams would have someone inside her that I may consume. Closing my eyes and picturing her until she materializes in my mind. She stands beautifully tall and beneath our sycamore tree, mesmerizing. The sun’s orange light engulfs and intensifies every strand of color brimming throughout her body. My body won’t move forward, but my lips split open and say, “hello.” She smiles inside, every fiber of my skin feels the warmth of her smile. I take a few moments to savor her delicate, fall warmth. I want to move forward, I know she wants to get closer, but my body is heavy with the idea of her. “I can’t, help me.”

My eyes open at the sound of his humming echoing in his kitchen. I look back at the annoying blank page, it stares back at me, but all I want is to reach her. I need my leaves to get me back to her. The blank page is pointless.

Opening my tree bin and releasing a lime green and orange leaf out of her suffocating cage. Caressing the colors with my fingertips, whispering, “I will set you free.” Taking hold of my small scissors and carefully freeing my perfect, crisp leaf. I place her on top of my right hand and use a piece of tape to keep her in position. It’s time.

I close my eyes again, closer to my woman of leaves, just a few feet apart. We are the same height, but she’s warm. As warm as the burning fire in a winter night or a gulp of rose tea. Her leaves move for the first time, as she caresses the top of her right hand all the way to her shoulder. My right hand and arm start to burn as its empty skin is replaced with her vibrant, braided leaves. Smiling and looking back at her, she is pure leaves with an emerging branch on her right arm.

The faint sound of his voice pulls me back into my studio. As always, he is near me, but my eyes linger on my arm made of her leaves. The tree bin starts to rattle and turns into a bright orange. With my left hand, I open the drawer and my leaves flutter out. They fall out of their paper cage and find their way home to my body, taking possession of my skin. My husband’s voice is silenced.

I look at the window and the gazebo is no longer there, instead my strange woman stands in the shape of a sycamore tree. Stepping out of the window, allowing the gust of wind sweep me to her, we are fall leaves.

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