The Smell of Spring

She passes my room first, bare feet padding almost silent down the flat brown carpet. My door is open, propped with the 87-cent doorstop that has proven to be one of the best investments of my college career. Opposite the door, I’ve pulled my window open too.

4pm, moving around room, gathering train pass, work clothes, snack, I stepped to the window, gazed out at the sudden spring warmth. On impulse, I reached up to flip the window locks open, my movement stirring the thin layer of dust that lined the top window sill, untouched since the last time the thermometer read 65 degrees. Window unlocked, I pushed the window open, the warm air slipping through the six-inch screened gap, blowing gently over papers on my desk, ruffling the miniature pot of dried flowers on my bookshelf.

9pm now, the sun has set behind the buildings that line the Chicago skyline, and even the orange glow of evening has left, leaving dark sky tinged to rain cloud grey as the first spring storm approaches. I’m sitting at my desk, between open door and open window. In front of me, over the white glow of my computer screen the hallway is empty, quiet on a Monday evening. Behind me, outside the window, the rain has begun to fall, and the cars in the street roll over wet pavement, the slick streets echoing their passing.

I’ve a textbook propped on my crossed legs and I’m alternately writing and reading when she passes the first time. I barely catch a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye, but then she’s stepped backwards once and she’s leaning slightly backward, too, and I look up to see her standing just outside my doorway. Hi, she greets me enthusiastically. She moves, speaks, chooses, lives with the same enthusiasm. I’ve seen the same flash of white teeth, the same wide smile digging dimples into her tanned cheeks many times before.

I return her greeting, complete with smile, and watch her step into the room from my perch at the desk. She makes herself comfortable, makes the room comfortable, where she is, and it feels like some kind of honor to see her step casually into my room. Watching her lean against the tall bed- the extra bed- it occurs to me for a moment that I’ve done well to make this a welcoming place, to open my door, to invite in, and I take it as a compliment that she finds herself so at home in the room I call my own.

She’s effervescent, bubbling with energy for life, vaguely tinted with uncertainty, and she’s only stopped in for a moment, temporarily sidetracked on her way to The Neighbor’s room. But she pauses there in the middle of the room to talk, and we swap words, nods, affirmations for a moment before she interrupts herself mid-sentence.

It smells good in here! She exclaims, looking at me with a mixture of curiosity and commendation in her dark eyes. I nod, smiling. I’d noticed the smell, too.

It’s outside, I exclaim, nodding my head towards the window which she must already know is open. Ooh, she nods understanding, but I add more, excited as I am about the rich scent. It smells so good, I say. Like warmth and spring and happiness. And I sound, of course, like a cheesy greeting card with bunnies and exaggerated smile faces painted on the front, but the gentle spring rain is blowing that deep, happy, spring air through my window, and it smells like green in the ground and contentment in the air, and it’s making me want to work harder, do better, because spring is coming, almost here, and life keeps skipping, singing, running forward.



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