Stay

by Chelsea Donahue

Summer always gave her the ability to make bad decisions seem like good ones. Maybe it was the salt water on her toes or the sun on her skin, but she always managed to escape her own discipline by blaming it on the heat. Bright days and magical nights that left an imprint on her heart, storing memories sure to carry her through the cold winters and rainy spring.

And of course, there was autumn, that smelled like apples and spice and (of course) everything nice. Autumn, that would never fail to follow summer, picking up the pieces of a broken heart left by the last weekend of summer. She loved autumn, because it was there, welcoming her with open arms and comforting colors and childhood memories that made everything right again.

But then September broke her, in a dark way that she kept repeating until summer felt so distant and autumn felt so cold that all that was left was rain, snow and promises smashed onto the cement like the aftermath of a fatal car accident. They left her to wonder if the moments she saw in her mind, of dancing through fields and driving down dusty back roads, were even real at all, or just created to give her some hope during those cold January mornings…

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