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It felt like spring as I walked down the side of the busy road, watching cars roll by on the mud-specked asphalt. The enormous snow banks created by the ploughs had melted away to nothing, leaving browned tufts of grass exposed. If you looked closely enough, you could see where dogs had done their business in the ditches off to the side. The sky was grey and cast a shadow over the street, which already seemed dull and lifeless.
I had always hated spring. The ice and snow fell away to reveal the decay from which life bloomed and everyone cheered. It was my personal belief that the world would be better off frozen.
A warm wind blew frayed hair into my eyes and I clawed at my face, hands shaking with the desire to tear my nails into the flesh that hung off my cheekbones.
I crossed the street for no reason at all and stepped over an abandoned slice of pizza that appeared to be decomposing. Some dog would probably eat it. Maybe that dog would be me, I thought, laughing aloud.
A car slowed as I stepped confidently into its pathway, a near miss by all accounts.
I kept walking up the street. A few kids were standing on the corner, waiting for the light to change. Two of them were pretending to smoke cigarettes and they all wore expensive sneakers.
I scowled in their direction and one of them gave me a wide-eyed look. That seemed funny, so I laughed, startling the other two as well.
It didn’t take long for them to resume their previous interactions. I caught a snippet, and triumphantly joined the conversation.
I cackled as I disbelievingly repeated the phrase, saying, “Your brother stole the bread?”
The light changed and they crossed the street.
I followed, repeating myself over and over as I wailed, “He stole it! He stole it! Dear God, he stole it!”
The kids walked faster and I heard one ask fearfully, “What’s wrong with her?”
As the kids walked past the Shoppers Drug Mart, I spotted a young woman with a blonde toddler holding her hand.
I shrieked louder, “He stole it! He stole it! He stole it!”
The kids I was following crossed the street, but so did I, still howling my sad story. I started to get shaky and my legs trembled. I wrapped my arms around my middle to steady myself. My vision blurred for a moment and I felt myself sway.
“He stole her! He stole her! He stole her!”
I thought back. He said it was necessary. He said I was too young.
“He stole her! He stole her from me!”
Then she was gone from my body and buried in the ground, decaying and decomposing before she’d taken her first breath. My icy heart had thawed, stripped down to the rot that had consumed me.
I had always hated spring.