"I could give the RGB codes for them," the web designer in 8L says. I don't doubt him. He probably could.
We are both outside on the 3rd floor deck, looking at the flowers planted in the brown balcony pots. Above our heads dark clouds sail by slowly. It was raining earlier and the scent of rain is mixed with the smell of the city.
He lights a cigarette. I shake my head--the head nurse will chew him out if she sees him, and no doubt she will as the nurses' resting spot is right behind us. They can clearly see him on the deck.
Glistening raindrops rest on the leaves and the handle bar. The timid sunshine slips on the wet surface as I look for my reflection in the water. My face is strangly distorted, my nose and right eye seem huge, the rest of my face is miniscule in the raindrop.
Such simple things can amuse me.
I am starting to get cold, prompting me to go inside. I stop by the heater under the window, taking another look at the autumn sky, resting my hand on the pipe leading to the radiátor. My fingers involuntrarily curve over the warm iron--I can sense the heat with the bottom of my palm.
In the distance a solitary oak tree waves at me. Its friendly, calming green is but a passing memory, it is now replaced by proud and loud colours. The pride of a dying season. An orgy of colours unfolds as the cool breeze sweeps through the branches. The vanity of nature is in the autumn leaves: the brightest colours and the smell of dry leaves on the ground.
Small birds take flight from the branches of the old oak. They come into the city for the winter, taking refuge from the surrounding woods. Their bright blue blacks and yellow vests are a welcome sight in many households. Soon, birdfeeders will pop up all over the city. Students watch the feathered visitors with eager eyes, taking notes so they can share their observations with teachers and classmates at next week's Nature Studies class. In a few weeks I will be making a birdfeeder from an empty bottle.
Another autumn-scented impulse: the distinct smell of roasted apples, evoking an old memory of a fireplace in the sitting room of a small Victorian house in Ireland. I was lying on my stomach on a rug in front of the fire, munching on freshly roasted apples while reading Voltaire's Candide. My brother, sitting in the old brown leather armchair, wearing a silk robe, and playing with his pipe, was absorbed in a text from University, Jung or Freud, or possibly Piaget. My cat purred on my back, keeping me warm and happy as Candide's advetures unfolded.
A rattling sound brings me back to the present. The coffee cart is passing by. The lingering aroma makes me sniff the air.
The aid stops to ask me if I want a cup. I say no and start to wonder -- I ask her -- when Halloween became a part of the Hungarian culture as she gestures towards the new little Halloween cups. She shakes her head; she doesn't know either. It just happened. Undoubtedly, autumn is here. In a few weeks the Christmas preparations will begin. Children will begin to learn the St. Nicholas Day rhymes and songs, school decorations will change and the children of Jehovah's Witnesses will miss a day of school for the October 23 celebrations.
The countdown to spring begins.