Ugh, I'm so out of practice. I'm sure I'm forgetting a million things, like links I usually post here, but I can't remember. Lol. Here goes nothing.
Leaves crunched under Lisa's boots, breaking into a million pieces of confetti. She paused a moment, turned to see the confetti left in her wake. Her eyes darted around, seeing no one else on this trail. She dug the toe of her boot into the leaves, kicking them up into dance in the air with the heady smell of earth.
Fragments of leaves stuck to her hair and backpack, Lisa faced South once again and continued along the trail until the crunch leaves grew damp from the wet ground beneath them as she drew closer to the narrow waterfall.
At the bank of the small pool, Lisa stopped and closed her eyes, taking in the scent of fresh air, feeling a gentle mist against her skin. Though the Autumn air was cool, her brisk walk had warmed her body enough the small bits of spray felt welcomed.
The sounds of a foot race broke through. The laughter that followed tugged at Lisa's heart and she turned to greet the two children throwing back leaves with their sneakered feet. The boy chased the girl, holding a stick like it was a machine gun. The girl, older, let him play as he wanted, heading directly to the water like Lisa had. Behind them jogged their father, the muscle of his left arm strained with the weight of the two packs he carried.
"Hi, Lisa," eight-year-old Isaac greeted her with a smile. "We saw a spider web wrapped between a branch and the path fence. The spider hid in a hole in the pipe and just waited for it's pray." Isaac's eyes gleamed and his voice lowered for suspense.
"What a clever engineer," she agreed, then Isaac was off to join Tara, his twelve-year-old sister at the water's edge. It always took the tween a few minutes to warm up to Lisa, a by-product of having her loyalties torn between her mom and her dad's new girlfriend.
"Hi," Mike greeted her quietly, pulling Lisa's attention away from the kids. "Fancy all of us deciding to hike at the same place." His green eyes sparkled with mischief and Lisa laughed, taking one of the backpacks from him without looking away.
He was amazing, full of laughter despite an awful divorce, full of a youth that matched her own, though he was older than her by 15 years. And his kids. His kids were so warm and loving, even Tara, once she got passed these awkward beginnings.
Lisa's heart filled. She had known these three for almost a year now. She wanted to know them for many, many years to come.
"But first, lunch." Lisa jumped at Tara's words. She turned to see the girl was addressing her brother, probably about some game she wanted to play. With a nervous laugh, Lisa nodded.
"Lunch sounds good," she agreed. "What did everyone bring?"
Yes. Lunch first on this beautiful, Fall day. Then, perhaps, the rest of their lives.