The air is cool and my hair is billowing about as I sit face-to-face with the Penn pendant - the gargantuan monument to Penn.
I remember now, why I wanted to come here - solely for the campus - it comes very close to fulfilling my childhood dream of jumping into a pile of multicolored leaves.
Fall Break is some days away.
Once it arrives,I’ll walk through the leaf-strewn campus to the train station where I will stare intently at the ceiling-bound board informing the duffel-swung college students, the briefcase bearing men and women in business-cazjh, hands-intertwined mommy/daddy-and-me couples, and anxious-first-time train ticket-holders, of the train schedule.
I will not want to blink so that I can be first in line. I will no doubt be staring intently at the shutters flipping from “5 min”, to “boarding”, fighting the urge to go to Dunkin Donuts and get my coffee that they will inevitably make incorrectly - too dark and which will detract from my odds of being first in line.
Not knowing what my level of will power will be days from now and whether or not I will make multiple trips to Dunkin Donuts until my coffee is made well.
I only know that I will be met by a beautiful New York City morning in the fall - the air will be crisp and be laced ever so subtly with the warm and salty smell of pretzels, and if I’m lucky, roasted nuts - but that’s more characteristic of late November/early December.
I’ll see my dad’s car parked and we’ll stop at a nearby street cart. The proprietor of the cart, permitting that he is one of the Afghans situated near the station, upon seeing my dad will inevitably say, “Bhai-Jaan, what can I get for you?”
My dad will hand him 75 cents and I’ll have my perfectly made coffee in hand.
I’m smiling to myself now -
Almost home, I’ll see Halloween decorations in the windows of local shops.
Candy Corn will be a mandatory buy during the next supermarket trip.
I’m pretty sure every American experiences this fall-time foliage. Nothing compares to a Northeastern fall.
Fall brings out my maximum level of patriotism as an American.
Fall is midterm and assignment saturated.
Fall time is lattes and long nights in the library.
Fall time is cozy - cozy clothes and cozy candle smells- pumpkin spice, cinnamon, maple.
If an alien landed on Earth (typical teacher prompt to make students think about anything/everything), and didn’t know what Fall was, no worries. If it’s sometime between late September and late November, take the him/her, (do aliens have genders?),to Pier One - the smells, the colors, the ambiance, the shop = Fall.