Spring Fever

Image: Ian Grose | ianquotidian.tumblr.com

Spring is the season for hay fever and hopeless romantics.

Reading Brodkey on the balcony: First impulsive act of love. A sloppy kiss while my wife is putting on her shoes. She gazes at me. Oh, it’s spring, she says.

The shadows are still long and blue, but there are brilliant green leaves on the trees outside the art school and a certain ambient anticipation. A seasonal restlessness. Spring Fugue.

The first warm day and a skirt worn over pale legs.

Half-hearted meals eaten standing in front of the fridge. Too much wine, and too many forgotten reminders to switch to whiskey. Wine makes me sad. Twice last week, holding a glass of merlot or chardonnay, I cried at the mention of J.

The return of desire. Of adolescent fancies. Vague excitement. A fit of cleaning.

A party on a Saturday spent tripping through a web of social relations. S is here, and J, and me. All three of M’s ex-girlfriends. And M. And J’s new boyfriend, also J. And everyone else.

The guests are eating cake.

This icing is remarkably light, says the other M. He is wearing a pink shirt the colour of my cranberry cocktail.

And not ridiculously sweet, G adds. He is wearing a sheet as a toga in honour of the night’s theme, spring by way of Botticelli’s Primavera.

It’s just cream you say, the other M asks.

And candied cherry, N replies.

I am not eating cake. I am watching J and M, sitting in the corner together. Bare arms touching, sharing a cigarette, reaching over one another for their drinks, then leaning in, turning an eager ear towards an eager mouth. Whispers, shared laughs.

Springtime is the time for romance. But not for me. And not for M. I want to tell him it’s useless, because it is. And because J’s boyfriend is sitting right there on the other side of the room. And because she is only being a flirt. And he is only being foolish.

We are all hopeless in love.

I watch him and feel vaguely sad. It’s a futile game.

Later I go to a club alone. But the person I’m looking for isn’t there. So I walk home and dance to last year’s hits in the lounge.

All I want is affection. I want affection hysterically.

In spring everything seems bright and light and promising. Even on a Sunday, after too much vodka and too little sleep.

But not on a Monday. This Monday a text from the person I had been looking for, apropos a night spent in his bed.

I wasn’t being cold, it said. I was tired and wasn’t wearing my contact lenses so I couldn’t even see you.

I couldn’t even see you.

You couldn’t even care.

Am I exhibiting co-dependent patterns? A quick search and browse through several online articles suggests not. But how else to describe my anxiety to be loved? It must be spring. A passing allergy. Best get back into bed until the fever passes.

The first mosquito bite and the first sunburn. The first heartache. The first regret.

The university is still shut down, but the day is warm, and students dot the campus lawns. The protests have been mollified by the first glorious day of the season.

An afternoon hour spent at a cafe. S sighs and says I’m almost entirely sure I’d have a boyfriend if I went to parties. And I’m almost entirely sure she’s right.

A stranger smiles at me and says something benign, unimportant. Is this seat taken? For a moment I can imagine falling in love with him, and oh, I think, it’s spring.

The first strawberries and the last citrus. Ten days of wind.