I see her walking towards me, her sharp black trench coat a stark contrast from the fiery fall leaves twirling freely as they fall behind her. Though I stare, she doesn’t note my presence. As we draw nearer, I notice she is at least a foot taller than me, her high-heels clacking on the cement in a harsh discord, lacking the rhythm footsteps usually possess. One hand holds a can of Red Bull, the other a cigarette. As she lifts the cigarette, I see the hand is shaking almost uncontrollably. Distress is clearly visible on her face. Small red puffy spots haunt the tops of her model-perfect cheeks, and her full lips sag almost hopelessly after she takes a drag.
My staring is curtailed, however, as she quickly clacks on by me, heels in hectic discord. I turn and watch her leave, staring on in pity, vowing to myself that I will never wrap my problems in trench coats or lift my insufficiency with heels. I will never wake myself up with a cigarette and a can, and if I find myself in distress I will ask for help. Being strong, I decide, will also include the ability to admit when I’m feeling weak. She keeps walking. I turn away and do the same, but slowly, watching the fall leaves spiral downward.