the first thing I see

A bit of fiction

The street is a common residential street. The houses are middle class, some a little better off than others. This particular street has been here for a while. The imprint in the sidewalk reads 1912. The mid century houses that appear here are next to Victorians and Craftsman models, clearly built as the original owners sold off bits of land. It makes a cozy neighborhood overall, this diversity of styles.

She had walked down the street many different times. It was a normal route for her now, one of a dozen possible ways to get where she was going, but she liked this street, with its wide sidewalks and and large trees. It made her walk a bit more lovely, peaceful and picturesque.

It was a brisk morning. Slightly damp with overnight rain, and a breeze that kicked up to a full wind from time to time. The smells were of early autumn, and the last hint of summer’s heat. She was on her way to work, strolling in the breeze and shuffling through piles of leaves already accumulating this early in the season. She followed the sidewalk, letting her feet carry her on her familiar way while her mind wandered. She watched the leaves dance by her as the squirrels raced through the trees above, chattering. Her coffee was warm in her hand.

A gust of chill wind grabbed her coat and flung it open, causing her to inhale sharply. Fumbling briefly, she tucked her coffee cup under her arm so she could button up the errant coat. That wind smelled of snow, though it was early still, it was not unheard of. She hoped it would hold off until the fall leaves had finished their show. It was always disappointing when the reds, golds and oranges of autumn finally reached a glorious blaze of color, only to end up in the gutter the next day because of a heavy, wet snow.

She looked up at a jay calling across the street to find that she had walked past her usual turn. Not far, perhaps half a block. If she crossed here an doubled back, she could get back on track pretty easily, and continue to enjoy her stroll. There was also the added benefit of the next street over being shielded from the wind. As she made her way to cross, checking for the almost always nonexistent traffic, something caught her eye. It was the first thing she had truly seen in clear focus this morning. Something out of the ordinary in her usual routine. The house she had been about to pass had gas lamps. They were lit, even though it was well after sunrise, and flickering away against the gray morning. They had the look of something from Dickens, or perhaps Disney’s interpretation of Dickens. Black iron, shiny glass panes, all angles and reflections. She walked toward them and pulled out her phone to take a picture. They seemed so oddly dated here, where there were only electric lights, and she thought that her dad might get a kick out of seeing them. Some of the ornamentation was unique, and he would enjoy telling her all about whatever he found out about the style, being the old architect that he was.

She silently snapped the picture and wondered if she had ever been down this street before. It was unlikely that she would have missed these lamps, but she supposed it might have happened. She looked down the street to see if anything looked familiar.

That was when she saw the second sharply clear thing this morning. the street went on, as most do, but two or three houses from where she stood, the street turned into a path, and then disappeared into the trees. The houses on both sides of the street, well, path, looked like they were slowly being devoured by greenery. From where she stood, to where the trees blocked her vision, it looked as though
someone had begun coloring with a green crayon, lightly at first, then slowly harder and harder until nothing remained but the green.

Had she been down this street, she was fairly positive she would have noticed that.

following the daily prompts for November from