It was the ideal summer day. I had lost five pounds and was wearing the bikini I previously had stashed away because “one-pieces are so in right now.” My stomach was finally getting some color again, which would quickly make it look like I lost ten pounds because everyone knows getting tan makes you look as skinny as *actually* dieting. I had been lounging on my doughnut floatie all day, alternating between rosé and Diet Coke to stay hydrated. The Instagram I had posted earlier was about to break 400 likes, which was great because I had spent way too much on the floatie for it not to be worth it.
As the sun started to skin behind the trees, however, I begrudgingly began packing up my belongings. I needed to get home quickly so that I would have enough time (5 hours) to get ready to go out. Just as I swung my old Big Day bag filled with my towel and the last half of my second bottle of wine over my tanned arm, I noticed it. It happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly out of nowhere that I almost missed it. But I didn’t, and my entire body froze, quivering with excitement.
Shaking me out of my deep mental deliberation of what I should wear that night (bodysuit sans bra, denim skirt, wedges, and a choker?), I saw it happen out of the corner of my eye. Maybe I even felt it. But something magnetic, something forceful, made me turn and look toward the edge of the pool, where an old oak stood tall and proud nearby.
And as I was looking at the aged tree, it happened. Without a breeze, an animal to shake the trunk, or any other outer influences, a singular leaf detached itself from a branch and floated in the air, softly drifting down toward the water.
I watched the leaf spin and dance in the warm summer humidity, teasing me for an unfathomable amount of time before landing softly on the still water, causing tiny ripples to etch themselves into the surface. Dumbstruck, I stared from the fallen leaf to the tree and back again. There, in that moment, on that perfect summer day, just as my skin was turning red from the hours I spent in the sun, it occurred to me. It finally clicked.
Sure, there was still a good week and a half of July, but that didn’t matter. In just a blink, July would be over and August would arrive. And with August comes workshop week, recruitment, syllabus week, and the first tailgate (I mean, football game?) of the season. Then, once you get over that I-haven’t-gone-frat-hopping-in-months-while-outside-and-pretending-to-care-about-sports hangover, it’s there. Without you even realizing it.
My mind started spinning as I gazed, transfixed, at the leaf swirling in the water. Pumpkin patches, apple cider and Fireball, haunted houses, and apple picking. Boots, scarves, bonfires, cuddling. Cute jackets and the ability to wear a knit cap without looking like a psycho. Leggings. So. Many. Leggings. PSLs. Pumpkin carving. Pumpkin pie. Snorting powdered pumpkin spice up your nose in the morning just because. Then, like a slap to the face, it hit me.
As of now, it was only 104 days away. With most of those days being filled with The Hunger Games that surround big little parings, chapter, socials, hangovers, and obsessing over texts that might or might not get responded to, there was basically no time to make the five-six Halloween costumes I absolutely had to have.
I pulled my bag higher up on my shoulder and spun on my heel toward the exit, the fallen leaf long-forgotten in favor of whether or not my roommate still had my sexy nurse costume. As I debated whether I wanted to go spooky, celebrity, or just plain slutty for my main costume this year, I swear I could feel a slight chill in the air.
Sure, according to some people, fall doesn’t start until September 22. But, obviously, they’re wrong. We only have 44 days until the *real* start of the best season around (September 1st), which means most of us are already behind in preparations.
Getting ready that night, my mind drifted back to the leaf falling that afternoon, and I made the bold decision to swap my heels out for knee-high boots. Sure, it’s still 90 degrees and no, we haven’t even gone back to school yet. But that doesn’t matter, I thought, as I Googled the release date for PSLs this season. No, they probably won’t come out until after Labor Day again this year, I thought, as I pulled up Favor and typed in Starbs. Maybe if I ask really nicely, though, they’ll make one for me anyway.
Because if we’re being really, truly honest, fall is basically here. Time to start planning, witches — our time has almost arrived..