They brushed gently on my face, those leaves. I’ve let that happen over the years and it’s always taken me back, back, back. Back to a time when my life was, quite suddenly, changed.
The first time I recall being brushed by a tree’s leaves was in September, 1961, when they were turning to their Autumn colours on that bright, sunny morning. They were beech-leaves on a branch overhanging the wall of the vicarage. I was on my way to catch the trolley-bus on the main road by the church.
I can still feel the warmth of that sun.
I knew then that the life-change would remain permanent, and I smiled as I stepped along. Happiness comes from contentment and I was so, so contented with what had happened to me a few months before.
We had met in the April of that year. We went out together for the first time in May and both of us knew that we would stay together. It was not the sort of sloppy, fawning feeling which writers of romantic fiction try to convince us happens. It was, quite simply, the warmth one feels when in a perfectly comfortable relationship. I even felt that I had known this special girl since goodness knows when.
Yes, I was a bit of a braggart in those days, showing off my Malayan Campaign suntan and, perhaps, exaggerating my experiences “Out East”. And she just accepted me for what I was.
She was younger than I; barely out of school. But we were right for each other. I was sure of that then, and even more certain of it now, after nigh on fifty years of contented marriage.
I don’t remember exactly where we went on that fine Sunday when I called for her. And there are lots of seemingly-small things other than leaves brushing my cheek which remind me of things which have happened in our courtship and throughout our married life.
I am so grateful that she has been there, by my side, all this time, correcting me (gently) when I go astray and supporting me in everything I do.
She’ll be all embarrassed when she finds I’ve published this to the world. Yet she will know that you, my readers, will understand that she has made my life a powerhouse of beautiful treasures.