by Richard

 It is my last day at college. I already packed most of my belongings, with only a few pieces of junk scattered around the room. I spot an alien object, sitting among a dump of pizza boxes, beer cans and chip bags. An acorn.

I had first started collecting acorns with my father from when I was eight. Every autumn when school starts, my father and I would spend every Sunday in the woods collecting the droppings of oak trees: acorns.

We never go to church, so this was our holy ritual. Waking up early to catch the rising sun, we would crawl through the hole at the base of the fence, turn on the music on our radio which we always brought along with us, and hunt for acorns. At lunch, we’d get to our special place: which was a small clearing with tall grass, and eat a picnic that mother prepared.

Sometimes dad brought his rifle with him. He never shot anything, except that one time a pheasant wandered too close to our picnic. I spent hours crying over the dead bird, only calming down after mother made a delicious stuffed pheasant for dinner.

These adventures became rituals, and eventually habits. I never understood why my father enjoyed collecting so much. Perhaps it was the feeling of attachment, security, or just simply, he was a man with no ideals and no ambitions, and needed the comfort of distraction.

The chance to ask him never came. One Sunday, my father was not there. So I sat on my bed, and waited. The sun rose over the land. Mother woke. He was gone. I don’t know why. He just left. The following Sundays I still woke before sunrise. I dressed and waited. No one came. He was gone, and all he left me were those acorns.  
I scoop up the acorn, curious as to how such an alien object ended up in my dump. A date is carved on the side, engraved was a part of my past I do not care for. I lean back, and shoot. The acorn lands in my garbage can.