Autumn's Summer

Writing Award Sub-Category
Award Category
Golden Writer
Logline or Premise
Bridges of Madison County romance with a fantasy twist
What if you were given up for adoption not because your mother didn't want you, but because she was trying to protect you from a curse?
Great loves come and go profound ones mark your soul in ways that take the rest of your life comprehending.
First 10 Pages

Autumn’s Summer

Not Your Typical Love Story


Felicity Talisman

Great loves come and go

Profound Ones Mark your soul

In ways that take the rest of your lifetime to comprehend.

While comprehension is one thing,

being brave enough to break other people's hearts is another.

Sometimes the best is left unsaid.

That way only my soul cries in dismal agony.


Unexpected moments come, sometimes once in a lifetime. Unfortunately not when planned or expected. That's the magic and the beauty of them.

Is it possible to love two people at the same time and not have the courage to reveal the truth to one or leave one for the other?

Richard; if you are reading this, I am dead, and even in death this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. My hand shakes; not from the cancer, but from my innermost hurt.

First of all, I have loved you deeply. You made my life the happiest It has ever been, or could have ever been. I could never have asked for more wonderful man, husband, or partner than I had in you.

And, as always, I was a coward, as you know.

But there was a part of my soul that was unfulfilled, I have discovered. This has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with me.

I would never have left you, would never have broken your heart in that way, but neither could I leave her.

I am only telling you to put my soul to rest and hope that, in yours, you will find a way to forgive me.

Please don’t hate me.

Or her.

It wasn’t her fault.

Some things, I’ve learned, are destiny.

One’s never meant to be, but once set in place, can’t be altered by either party.

And for that I’m sorry, truly deeply sorry.


Love, Always


March 31st, 2011

Richard stared at the brief four-page cover letter, the handwriting rough. She must have written this letter just before she died. From the padded envelope he pulled out a thick leather-bound diary, the cover an engraved Celtic Tree Of Life, a pink opal heart at its center. His hand shook as he unwound the leather lace binding it and stared at the first page; My Journeys With Summer.

The package had been delivered this morning; one year and one day after Autumn had succumbed to that dreadful disease that had swallowed her so rapidly. A brief letter from their lawyer’s office accompanied it; they’d been given instructions to so do. He held the book, shaking, unable to turn a page, not knowing what to expect. Not knowing if he wanted to read any of it. It wasn't a man she was with, but it was someone she loved and… he swallowed; made love to?

He made himself comfortable on the loveseat they had so often shared and stared at the large writing on the four handwritten pages again. Breathing deeply, he turned to the first entry.

Dear Richard;

This journal begins the tale of another romance. One I shouldn't have started, yet called to me every day; it haunted my every dream and pulled at me whenever I saw a woman with red lipstick. You will read some shocking and intimately explicit parts, but after I’m gone I just want to be fully and completely open and honest with my feelings and you. Maybe it will give you some idea of why I did what I did and, once started, why I couldn’t go back to my former life and the person I once was.

I began a diary on my computer after first meeting Summer, to process my thoughts, realizations and learnings. I had read it helps if you write down what you are going through, it helps the mind to process. When the cancer was discovered, I began writing this journal, a record for your eyes, written by me now as I read back through my original diary. Some details you will already know as I would have shared them with you at the time, but I am adding them in as well to show the whole picture, and I want the complete story to be told to whomever you choose to share it with. I cannot bear to leave this world without confessing all to you, not in a bid to hurt you but, as you will find out about this eventually, to be the one to tell you. It is so important to me that you know, no matter what had happened between Summer and me, that you were always the love of my life and that I would never have left you. I just couldn’t bear to let her go either.

I do not know, and now never will, if you ever suspected. But, if you ever did, it was with Summer, not another man. I am unsure whether that will make a difference to you as I still cheated on you and for that I am deeply sorry. That is something I have to deal with wherever we go in the afterlife.

Richard paused and stared at their wedding photo on the mantel. We were so in love. Or so I thought.

Nope, she hid it well, I had no idea other than she and Summer had become very good friends, and neither had ever alluded to anything more.

Summer took me to places that I didn't know existed and, in the end she saved my life, as you will read, before I found out about the cancer.

Summer knows nothing of this journal. I hope when you are done reading it, you have the courage to allow her to read it as well.

I bought and planted the lilac tree and the lavender to be reminded of her when I was at home. If I shut my eyes it was just like being with her, in her backyard.

Richard wandered over to the French doors and stared out at the lilac; it had grown quite large over the years. How long, he wondered? If memory serves me right, was what nearly three or four years ago?

As per Autumn’s request, her cremated remains were interned under the lilac. A Celtic ceramic cross marked the location of the modest wooden box. He had sprinkled some of her around the tree as well. She said she loved the sweet scent of the blossoms and wanted to be close to him.

Only it wasn't just me she wanted to be close to, was it?

He remembered the few times they had fought. It was rare; that was why he loved her so much, they got along so well together. Soulmates, he’d told her. She'd storm out of the house and sit under that tree crying, on the ceramic bench adorned with flowers and hearts. It never occurred to him it was for another reason. Most of the time she'd sit out there, and write or read, usually with a glass of red wine or herbal tea, looking so peaceful.

Richard sat again and poured another glass of red wine from the bottle on the small side table. He drank back half of it and stared at the journal on his lap. He wanted to cry, but had done enough of that already in the last year and a half or so.

I don’t want to, but I need to know that side of my wife, the woman I thought I knew so well. Apparently, hardly at all when I wasn’t here but out on my business meetings. Taking a deep breath he turned once again to the journal, and continued to read as tears oozed from his eyes and down his cheeks, their faithful Jack Russell, Jackson, peacefully sleeping in front of the fire.

He wondered if he’d ever sleep as peacefully again.

Chapter One

April 24, 2008

My eyes had been inexplicably drawn to the ad on the grocery store’s corkboard and for an unknown reason my heart pounded. I was staring at it, lost in thought, when a wave of ylang-ylang or Patchouli washed over me like a soft fleece blanket.

"I see my ad has caught your attention." Her voice, soft, sincere, washed into me and something inside jumped as I turned to stare for the first time into soft blue eyes with oceanic depths.

So it began.


It was late spring, just before the beginning of Summer. That was her name by the way; Summer.

I had stopped on the other side of the Sammamish Lake at the Lakeside Full Line Grocery store. I usually hit the big city store on the way home, but had realized I'd forgotten a couple of things for dinner. On the way out, postings clipped to a corkboard caught my attention. One for canoe lessons, something I'd been meaning to learn, and wanted to surprise you with. Our two kids, David and Julie, had flown the nest and had begun their own lives. With your career in sales you were often gone for days or weeks and, although I wanted to return to my writing, to the journalistic career I’d put on hold for domesticity, I wasn’t sure where to begin. Learning to canoe would at least be an achievement. I’d love to go out on the lake to pass the hours without you. When we went together, I was submissive, happy to let you paddle. I enjoyed it, letting you be in charge of me. Or so I’d thought. I tore off the strip of paper from the bottom of someone called Jason’s ad, meaning to phone as soon as I returned home.

But another ad caught my eye, and my spirit, as I picked up the heavy shopping bags. A hand-drawn picture of someone meditating, legs crossed and a heart erupting over them. ‘Yoga classes, meditations, spiritual readings, etc. Sign up and find your inner voice and spirit. Fulfill the deeper meaning of your life.’ The words hit rather hard. I had no deeper meaning, other than cooking, washing, cleaning the house and looking after the kids that were no longer there. I realized right then and there how empty I was inside. I should be happy; your well-paying job provided very well and had bought the lovely house on a gorgeous lake. And I was very happy, or so I thought. But perhaps there was something more?

The words called to me again and again as I stared like a deer dazzled by headlights. I stood lost in the knowing that what I was about to do, no, wanted to do, would change something inside me. The weight of the shopping bags pulled at me, calling me back to my humdrum, yet peaceful life. Go now! Cried out from my mind as I put them down.

Did I want to complicate it? Still a part of myself called from within. At the moment I had nothing, was nothing, only a housewife.

Most likely some crazy hippy chick doing woo-woo stuff to make a buck out of us richer folk out here at this lake. Or, perhaps, a more down-to-earth person connected to herself and the planet. Since college, marriage and two kids I'd not had much time to indulge in what I liked or wanted to do with myself. Quite frankly I wasn't really sure what that was or who I really was anymore.

I picked up my bags ready to turn and exit the store, allowing that cynical voice to take control once again.

"I see my ad has caught your attention." Her voice, soft, sincere, washed into me and something inside jumped as I turned to stare for the first time into soft blue eyes of oceanic depths. A moment of sheer co-incidence, only as I learned later, nothing is co-incidence.


This was the meeting that prompted the computer diary. For the first time in an age, I was compelled to write, wanting to put down my thoughts while they were still fresh. Meeting Summer had awoken my muse and questioning realizations. This was a positive start.

I stared into her eyes as rivers ran into me, through me, waves thundered into the cliffs of my existence. Journeys never traversed in this lifetime, but I’ve dwelled in others, calling to this life in the serenade of water splashing on my canoe or the dust of an old country road humming along the heat of a summer’s morning. Time, love, and, ultimately death come to us all. Amongst the haunt of lilacs wafting in a warm breeze and crackles of a cozy winter fire, seduced by acrid smoke and chilled wine there is a need or want that calls hauntingly to our souls. To mine.