Lila threw open her closet and started re-arranging the clothes, shoving the jackets and coats to the back and pulling out the skirts and cute tops. After what felt like a whole year of winter, spring had finally come around. This was always her favorite time of year, when she could better mix and match her outfits and the sun was warm without being too uncomfortable. What should she wear for the occasion?
After ten minutes of deliberation, she finally decided on a leather skirt with a giant pink flower embroidered on it and a simple fuschia tank top. Then she rubbed some sunscreen on (mild temperatures or not, it wouldn’t do to get burned), grabbed her purse, and ran out to find her friends. They needed to take advantage of this beautiful weather.
She found Tracey, Niki, and Sandy at their usual coffee shop, sitting at a patio table. “Hi!” she waved enthusiastically, “Lovely weather, huh?”
“About damn time!” Sandy said, “If I had to spend one more day almost killing myself on the ice, I would have gone insane!”
“And I’ve been looking forward to swim practice starting up again,” Tracey said, looking over at a nearby fountain, “There’s only so much practice you can do when the pools are closed.”
“Me, I can’t wait for the seasonal stuff. Lemonade, watermelon, ice cream…” Niki said, lifting her drink, clearly the aforementioned lemonade, “Screw the calories, I just want to enjoy it!”
“What do we want to do today?” Lila asked, “I feel like we should celebrate the first day of warm weather.”
“We could browse the mall and see if they have the spring styles out yet.”
“Oh, come on, Sandy, spending today indoors? We can do better than that!” Seeing Sandy’s pout, she relented slightly. “Ok, how about this? We all get some drinks, go and walk in the park to feel the sun and check out the flowers, and then go to the mall?”
“Sounds good to me!” Niki said, jumping up, “Drinks are on me! Who wants what?”
A few minutes later, armed with four different flavors of lemonade (despite what everyone said, pink was so a flavor!) they made their way to the park. They certainly weren’t the only ones enjoying the weather; people were out walking their dogs, playing frisbee, or just skating around the park. It all felt so friendly and communal, Lila almost felt like skipping. But she didn’t, for the sake of not embarrassing her friends, who loved her enthusiasm but sometimes thought she went a little overboard.
When they reached the more secluded area of the park, however, and were confronted with a gigantic patch of dandelions, she couldn’t resist any longer. No one was around, and besides, dandelions were meant to be tossed about. “Make a wish!” she called out, shoving her drink into Niki’s hands, veering off the path, and jumping straight into them.
“Lila, wait!” Tracey called, but Lila had already collapsed into the dandelions, laughing as the seeds burst into the air and drifted off to parts unknown. She plucked one and held it close to her face, wishing silently for more warm spring days before blowing all the seeds off with one good puff. She laughed again; spring was always so cool!
Then her nose started tickling, not just a simple itch, but a full-fledged need to sneeze. Lila sat up, not wanting to blow away all the dandelions (save some for others, after all), and cupped her hands over her face to keep from spraying her clothes. “It-chi! Hitchew!”
It helped a little, but the tickle seemed to grow worse as she breathed in. “Ka-chew!”
“Come on, up you get,” Sandy said, grabbing Lila’s arm and getting her back onto the path, brushing her down with her other hand, “Honestly, you do this every year.”
“Huh? Kertish!” Lila was confused.
Tracey shook her head, but it was clear she was trying not to laugh. “I swear, sometimes you have the memories of a goldfish, Lila. Every year, you find a patch of dandelions and start rolling around in them to celebrate spring, and every year, you forget that you’re allergic to them. Then you spend the rest of the day sneezing and pulling fluff out of your hair, you swear you’ll remember, and then winter drives it all out of your head.”
Now that she thought about it, Lila did remember something of the sort. She shrugged, giggled, and sneezed again. “Ishoo! Well, that may be so, but…Hat-chi! They’re so fuzzy, it’s kinda hard to resist them! Besides, it’s a tradition at this point! First robin of spring…first budding crocus…the annual dandelion sneeze fest!”
Her friends all laughed good-naturedly. “Come on, allergy girl,” Niki said, handing Lila her drink and assisting in removing the fluff, “Let’s get you into some air conditioning to drive the pollen away. At least it’s only your enthusiasm that’s contagious.”