Coffee at a nice window always calms me down when I experience anxiety. Sitting at a table, I glanced at my surroundings and watched people walk through the city while sipping on my hot pumpkin spice latte with two pumps of cream. I read a book about fall leaves; I loved the fall, not only because my name is Autumn, but because everything that surrounds it, the coziness, the big sweaters, makes me feel the most comfort. My mother always hated the fact that I loved oversized hoodies that I could nearly drown myself in, but I loved them. I loved the way they snuggled my arms through the cold weather.
As I flipped the next page, I noticed a girl come through the entrance, and she looked a lot like someone familiar. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t. I deeply studied her face, and then I realized it was my ex childhood best friend. She ordered her favorite fall drink, a maple matcha tea latte, and she looked so happy. She did better than me through our friendship breakup. I always had feelings for Mary Kate. The night of Halloween was the night I confessed. Ironically, I'm seeing her again on the first day of fall. She didn't feel the same. She told me she didn’t want a relationship right now, yet she got with another girl three weeks later and left our whole friendship behind. She left me out of almost everything. As I watched her kiss her girlfriend goodbye, a little piece of me felt broken. My heart still desperately longed for her. I put my head down inside my book, hoping that I’d block it out of my memory again, until she saw me.
“Autumn? Is that you?” she shouted. I put my head up and rolled my hair back against my ear. “Y-yeah, it’s me,” I said, my hands now sweaty and voice trembling. She came over to my table. “How are you?” she asked. How could she ask that if she left me stranded dealing with a friendship and a heartbreak alone? “G-great,” I said. Some best friend she was. I took a sip of my coffee, and she smiled. “What?” I said. She giggled. “Nothing… it’s just you have some whip cream on your face, it reminds me of us being fourteen again,” she said as she grabbed a napkin and wiped the cream off of my face. My heart skipped a beat. She always knew how to make my heart skip several beats. We laughed and caught up a bit.
“It was nice seeing you, Autumn,” she said. Her smile still shined as big as a harvest moon. Her smile was radiant, lighting up the coffee shop with warmth. Her eyes still lit up as big as fireworks on the Fourth of July. Her eyes sparkled with passion and enthusiasm...as soft as a gentle breeze on a summer evening. She had never changed, same old Mary Kate, the one I fell in love with. Yet, she was still as clueless as a blind bat, not knowing how much my heart held for her. Every time I was around Mary Kate, no matter how long it’s been or the distance, I fell utterly in love with her every chance my heart got.
“I’m still in love with you,” I blurted out. She looked at me almost shocked. I couldn't do this anymore; I always said the wrong thing. I grabbed my books and coffee, struggling, my heart raced, and my hands shook. I got up from my seat and started walking out of the coffee shop. As I reached the sidewalk, she came bustling through the coffee shop door.
“Stop running, Autumn,” she yelled. I turned around. “What?” I said. She came closer. “I said stop running. You’ve run every time you confessed your feelings to me. Why? Do you think I can’t take it? Do you think you’re unworthy?” she said. I stopped trying to understand. “I wonder if you’re even serious sometimes. If you truly love me like you say you do, why do you run, Autumn? What are you so afraid of?” she asked.
“Mary Kate, I...you...we...you’re with Blair. I ran because you didn’t want a relationship right now,” I said. She huffed. “Screw Blair. Do you think I liked seeing you go to prom with Chris? Do you seriously think I wanted to hide us from our homophobic parents? if i want to love you then i want the whole world to know i love you because you deserve that autumn. There were so many things I was scared of. I was scared I wasn’t good enough,” Mary Kate confessed. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I wanted to form words, but i couldn’t. so, She lifted my head up from my chin and kissed me.
“I want to be with you, Autumn,” she said. The cold air raced through my skin. The beautiful orange leaves complimented her orange ginger hair.
“I want to be with you, Mary Kate,” I said. She smiled, and we kissed once again. Maybe falling in love with my best friend wasn’t as bad as I thought. As we pulled back from our kiss, Mary Kate took my hand and led me to the park across the street. The leaves were crunching under our feet as we walked towards a bench. We sat down, and she pulled me close to her.
"I'm sorry for hurting you, Mary Kate," i said, my eyes filled with regret. "I was scared of what my family and friends would think of us. I was scared of losing them. But I realize now that I don't want to lose you, and I don't care what anyone else thinks."
Tears welled up in her eyes as she listened to me. I had never felt so vulnerable with anyone else before. "I understand," she said, wiping away her tears. "I was scared too. Scared of losing you, scared of being rejected. But I don't want to be scared anymore. I want to be with you."
We sat in silence for a few moments, taking in the beauty of the park in the fall. The sun was setting, casting a warm glow over everything around us. Mary Kate leaned in and kissed me again, and I knew then that everything was going to be okay. We were together now, and nothing was going to stop us. We spent the rest of the evening walking around the park, hand in hand, enjoying each other's company. The warm hues of the sunset reflected in Mary Kate's eyes, making them shine even brighter. We talked about everything and nothing, just enjoying being in each other's presence. As the sun disappeared behind the horizon, we knew it was time to head back.
We walked back to my apartment, and as we stood at the door, Mary Kate turned to me and said, "I know we have a lot to work through, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make this work. Are you?"
I took a deep breath and looked into her eyes. "I'm willing to do whatever it takes too," I said, my heart racing.
With that, Mary Kate leaned in and kissed me once again. This time, it was deeper and more passionate, as if we were both pouring our hearts into it. As we pulled away, we both knew that this was just the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. A chapter filled with love, hope, and endless possibilities.
As we said our goodbyes for the night, I knew that I had finally found my home. And it was in Mary Kate's arms. The next morning, I woke up to the sound of my phone buzzing non-stop. I reached for it and saw that I had over 20 missed calls and messages from my old friend, Blair. My heart sank as I read her angry messages, accusing me of stealing Mary Kate from her. I tried to explain that Mary Kate and I had feelings for each other long before they got together, but Blair refused to listen.
I knew that my relationship with Mary Kate would be complicated, but I never expected it to be this difficult. It was hard enough dealing with my own fears and insecurities, but now we had to deal with other people's opinions and judgments.
Mary Kate and I decided to take things slow and keep our relationship private for now. We didn't want to deal with any more drama or negativity. We spent the day cuddled up on the couch, watching old movies and talking about our hopes and dreams for the future.
As the day turned into night, Mary Kate took my hand and led me outside to the balcony. The city was quiet, and the stars shone bright in the sky. She wrapped her arms around me and whispered, "I love you, Autumn. I don't care what anyone else thinks. As long as we have each other, we can get through anything."
I looked up at her and smiled, feeling the warmth of her embrace. "I love you too, Mary Kate. And I believe that too."
We stayed outside for a while, enjoying the peacefulness of the night and each other's company. For the first time in a long time, I felt truly happy and content. I knew that there would be challenges ahead, but I was ready to face them with Mary Kate by my side.