She walked down the sidewalk. The leaves fell in front of a small school, the late fall weather causing most of the trees to be bare, but the ground to be full of brightly colored leaves. The one time of year when death is beautiful. Few cars were parked outside and the playground was empty, after the recesses of kids, after the busy school day, the echoes of children laughing could be heard among the stray mulch and orange peels left from the lunches before. The busy streets around the building seemed to isolate it and make it its own island, an island full of memories. The wind blew the leaves over the sidewalk in front of the door. The door that was swarmed with people each morning arriving from the buses. She walked up to the old school and glanced at it, seeing the buzz of kids leaving, jumpy from the idea of getting back to their homes. She saw the middle schoolers gossiping about her, talking about their dislike for her. But when she blinked she saw the empty quiet school, different from the one she had known many years ago. She turned up the volume of her earbuds trying to block out the old memories but instead the music was drowned out by old memories, ones she had thought she had forgotten by now. They all rushed back in this moment, filling her mind with past troubles and ancient worries.


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