🍁🍀🍃🍂 It is autumn. The wind is blowing hard and it is raining heavily. All the leaves of the ivy creeper have fallen, but one! Why doesn’t the last leaf fall? 🍁🍀🍃🍂
On a fateful day of the lives of not 2 (Sue and Johnsy) but 3 artists (also read Behrman) where the author O. Henry adds more of those dark elements like melancholy, misery and feels of hopelessness, he also paints a picture of the arrival of new possibilities, to ignite that only spark of hope you find anywhere within you even if it is present in a small ounce or a quantum of space. Some desperate times where you reach a dead end, but then there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
(Catch the full story here: TheLastLeaf )
Much to a setup of bad weather and heavy rains on a gloomy autumn day of November, Johnsy falls ill, caught up with a bad pneumonia which gets her roommate friend Sue worried. The doctor’s medicines or Sue’s reassuring conversations does not make a matter since Johnsy believes that her final end has a psychological connection with an ivy creeper shedding leaves gradually, and that she would bid farewell when the last leaf fell. Sue wants to get on with her work to make ends meet for both of them. On the pretext of wanting to paint the miner Behrman, a neighbour in their apartment building, she departs from the scene for the time being and approaches the latter for help.
Behrman a painter himself, though not renowned for his actions nor having the privileges of the worldly pleasures with respect to his profession, was willing to help out Sue on learning about Johnsy’s trouble. He wanted to fulfil a dream of his own to make a masterpiece of a painting, and years down the line after toiling hard he wasn’t quite there yet. As dramatic as it gets, on the other side of the story, Johnsy is gazing from the window at the ivy creeper, and after several storms there is one last leaf still hanging on the the body of the creeper. This spells for a ray of hope as Johnsy realises she is recuperating slowly as the doctor also confirms the news of her speedy recovery at mid day.
Behrman on the other hand has fallen ill the previous night and the same doctor claims that he has no hope for him. He had also caught pneumonia since he was out all stormy night. His clothes were wet and was shivering. Two days later the news of his death breaks out. But what was it that made him stay out all night in the bad weather? The lantern and a ladder with a few bottles of green and yellow paints and brushes arrives at a confirmation that the last ivy leaf was Behrman’s first and last masterpiece! The leaf that didn’t flutter for a long time, that didn’t shake through any of the storms and kept Johnsy’s will to live alive. He painted it the night the last leaf fell.