Early spring in Chicago should come with a "Warning: Bipolar Warning." Like any other time of year, the temperature fluctuates, perhaps as much as 30 degrees in a single week.
But in spring that means the difference between a below-freezing night, or a glorious sun shining down on flocks of children running up and down the lakeside. As I right this, a howling wind tears through our bedroom: our landlord really needs to work on the insulation.
But I love that first warm day of spring, just like everyone else. The heat makes people giddy: last week, one of my friends Facebook'd a picture of a child throwing his jacket in a fountain. He danced around and screamed "I'll never need this again!"
Winter 2005-2006 sucked for me. That was my first year of university, and never in my life had I felt so lonely. High school sent all my friends to other, better schools, while I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, a mid-tier state university Downtown. At 19 and a late bloomer in virtually every respect, my childish frame and boyish awkwardness kept me at arm's distance from anyone else.
I felt beyond lonely. A million people surrounded me, and I had not a single real friend.
I had a hopeless crush on a chestnut haired girl. Her name was Ashley. Another girl, a young Indian, was crazy for me: I couldn't even think of her, except of how sad I felt for her, and how sad I felt for myself, and how no one in this mess would end up happy. It would take until 2013 before any of the three of us would scrap out any sense of permanence.
Spring 2006 started on March 30th. That was Ashley's birthday. We shared one late afternoon class together that day. The first warm day of the year, I was already in a great mood. Even better, when Ashley came into sight on the quad, I saw her in a dress for the first time, a long, flowing maxi dress, floral white painted on a deep purple.
University seemed bad for me then. Little did I know it would get so much worse. That day, March 30th, 2006, on her 19th birthday, I fell harder for her than I ever had for any girl before. It would take years and years before I finally got her out of my system.
But I still remember March 30th. It's one of the few bright, sunny days I ever had at college.