Entry A-2: “Autumn Leaves — I”


After a short drive, Meridian and Elise arrived at I’m Sorry’s parking lot. Meridian felt like treating her little sister to something nice for making it through this semester without failing all of her grades.

Meridian stopped quite far away, despite the vast parking lot being empty. This gave Meridian some time to mentally prepare for the experience, and Elise some time to skip around. Win-win.

I’m Sorry was drawing near. The closer they got, the more Meridian slowed her pace, as if that will stop I’m Sorry from happening. Her little sister kept wistfully skipping ahead, forcing her to keep up.

I’m Sorry’s gravity was too strong. She was going to get sucked in.

Meridian held her breath, and pushed open the doors. Inside, she found a tacky 80’s Americana diner. Signature ceramic tiled floor, walls stained with liquified sausage fat and time. Red cushioned seating lining the wall. Eyesore. Meridian was wondering if anyone was going to point out the uncharacteristic sea of lime-green wireframe cubes that seemed to inhabit a portion of the diner.

Meridian followed the server to their table. As they made their way through the diner, she observed the other patrons. Their faces were difficult to describe.
She plopped down on the hard seat and listened to the server explain their restaurant’s concept. She didn’t really care.

There was a green booklet in front of her. opening the menu, it was blank. She looked to her little sister for an answer, but she was already busy picking between “smiling banana split” and “chocolate delight”. Turning the page, she let out a sigh of relief. The contents were on the next page. It was completely filled with a random series of numbers. She had a difficult time choosing.

Meridian felt sick after the meal at I’m Sorry. The complimentary coffee was oily, she felt uncomfortable with what she had just consumed. Her little sister looked content, staring at the ceiling. Meridian did not have time to see what was so exciting, she was busy impatiently waiting for the server to come back with her credit card. The cook and server was having a leisurely chat in the kitchen. They should work harder.

After Meridian semi-lucidly scribbled her signature on the bill, sis wanted to sign it too. Her handwriting wasn’t very good, and she increased the tip. Does she know who’s paying for this? Meridian needed to get out of here before anything else bad happened. Stepping out, she immediately sobered up as the cool autumnal air filled her lungs. At that moment, she knew what she needed to do.

The minivan was humming as they made their way down Main Street. Elise pointed out how all the trees were painted with yellows, reds, and the occasional purple. Meridian questioned if this was normal.

Meridian pulled into the town’s only gas station. Whoever worked here did not seem to bother about getting paid, as they were nowhere to be found. She simply left after refueling. Meridian felt the weight on her conscience, but only for grabbing the shovel she didn’t necessarily need to steal.

Driving out of the valley, the wind picked up. Leaves were being blown about, looking for a place to rest. Many seem to have found it — the road paved with their warm colors. The sun was shining bright above, making the whole scene glow.

The road was covered with leaves, only the gravel crunching under the tires would reveal the fact that they were on the right track. This prompted Elise to ask if they were lost. Her sister didn’t answer.