There was a movie on television I saw when I was small, and the only part that I remember vividly was the scene where a woman opened a large mullion window to a very windy day, and the wall outside was covered in barren ivy branches and a single ivy leaf.
This scene, and the story stuck with me for years, the name not remembered.
Then, last week, I came across a slew of O. Henry stories. Well, lo and behold! There was the story, “The Last Leaf,” the narrative and scenes returning to my mind as I turned each page.
In the late 1800s two women, Johnsy and Sue, share a place in Greenwich Village, and share a bohemian lifestyle, too. It is autumn – cold, wind, and storms bring an illness that sweeps across the village, and it claims Johnsy. She languishes, although Sue tries her best to take care of her. Mister Behrman, an eldery painter who for decades talked about painting a masterpiece but never did, plays a pivotal role in their lives.
“The Last Leaf” is a book that I would recommend. It is witty and has the expected surprise ending for which O. Henry is famous. It can be read in one sitting (35 pages), and it keeps the reader’s interest.
“The Last Leaf”
Author: O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)
Publication date: 1907
December 20, 2016.
©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.