Doris is in her seventies, something she always thought could only happen to old people. She is becoming increasingly forgetful and is beginning to worry about it. Her main problem seems to be in recalling names. Today, the view from her window of a bright autumnal day has reminded her of a film from her youth. “Oh, what was the name of that actress?” She begins her usual strategy of searching through the entire alphabet, but to no avail. Oh well, what did it matter? It was a film from over fifty years ago. No wonder she can’t remember.
Outside, the leaves are falling, chasing each other in swirling random patterns. Sometimes the wind carries them back skywards to a point higher even than the trees that have finally released their grip on them. Perhaps Doris is unwittingly releasing the grip she has on her memories. Now they are fluttering down silently and invisibly, scattering across her living room carpet, soft underfoot.
She has no recollection of fainting. She opens her eyes to see the concerned face of a medic, gazing down at her in the back of an ambulance. He is holding her hand.
“Hello, love. You’re okay; everything’s going to be alright. You’ve had a bit of a fall. Do you think you could tell me your name?”
Doris gazes up at him, and feels strangely contented in spite of the unexpected circumstances.
“Rita Hayworth!” she says triumphantly, as they speed onward through a sudden flurry of leaves.
Michael Salander is the name under which UK author Mick Lynch now writes. He is working on a collection of pieces of exactly 250 words. Autumn is an example of one of them.