I’m The Last Green Leaf On This Tree And I Will Not Give In To Fall Peer Pressure

Hi there—I see you’re looking at my tree. It’s really…something, isn’t it? So much yellow and orange and red. “How pretty!” passersby keep saying. Pretty tragic if you ask me.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m still green. You know why? Because I’m not like my fellow foliage. I’m the only frond left with any fortitude.

Every leaf on this tree  besides me has fallen victim to vanity. One after another, my normally rational neighbors abandoned their timeless green tints for garish new shades. Eventually, the conceit they cultivate from these colors literally kills them.

It’s as insidious as we are deciduous.

I’m the last of my kind. A botanical bohemian. All the other schlubs on this shrub sacrificed their scruples. But I would never do such a thing. Each day that I choose to wake up this way is a testament to my chlorophyllic character. My integrity is evergreen.

It’s sad to see what’s become of my former buds. What happened to their viridescent pride? I can’t help but remember how different things were back in spring, when we were all sunny little sprouts. “Our tree is totally the greenest in the whole forest!” we used to call out into the canopy. “Emeralds have nothing on us!” Now look at those stalkless saps, turning purple and pining for attention.

I hope you’re satisfied, peeper. This is what you came here for, right? To bask in the “beauty” as my misguided arboreal allies succumb to sick showleafship? Well, take it all in.

If only I knew the root of this rotten trend. Maybe I could have stopped it from propagating. But no one would tell me! Every leaf I asked flat out lied. I know because their tendrils twitched as they said it “just sort of happened.” Sure it did. Do I look like I bloomed yesterday?

Even Herb, who was the first leaf to flip, never revealed a reason.

About a month ago, Herb started spotting. Initially, no one thought much of it. Everyone just figured it was blight, or bird poop. But the transformation was only getting started. Soon, Herb’s sickly jaundice hue turned to shimmering gold. That’s when leaves from across the tree–green, but with envy–began to take notice. It wasn’t long before dozens decided to join. Then hundreds. Then thousands. Soon, I was the last lush leaf left.

Yesterday, Herb’s shriveled burgundy carcass fluttered to the forest floor. It was picked up by a toddler taking a stroll with his mom. “This will make a great centerpiece for your autumn arts and crafts project, sweetie!” I overheard her saying. A harrowing — but most fitting — fate.

I may just be vegetation, but it would be fruitful for you to heed my sage advice. You reap what you sow. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Every rose has its thorn.

What I’m trying to say is, sometimes going out on a limb can save your life. My very verdant existence is evidence enough.

W — Wait a second.

What is that?

Right there, near my stem. Is that…a splotch of yellow?

No, this can’t be!

Am I…just like every other leaf?

Destined to expire from excessive ego? Doomed to die in a fiery spectacle of superciliousness?

Well shit.

Ignore everything I said a minute ago.