Springtime Superlatives

She props herself up on the blue and green plaid picnic blanket, lolling her head lazily so she can feel her wispy curls graze her shoulders. She reaches her left hand out to pick a leaf from her dress. Nearby, a little boy is playing with bubbles, blowing too fast and only creating piles of froth that collect in the grass five feet away. He giggles anyway, so she does too, but has to stop after a moment, because his parents are eyeing her warily. A young woman in pale pink, laughing alone. The park is crowded, because the temperature has topped seventy, and it seems as though the entire city has decided to venture outdoors, clad only in shorts and tank tops. Sun glints off the grass, falling lovingly through the kaleidoscope of leaves above her head, speckling her back with light, now, and freckles, later.

She moves to lie on her stomach, shading her eyes with her hand to watch a man walk by on the sidewalk in front of her. He’s smoking a long cigarette, but just before he reaches the space near her blanket, he stops suddenly. He takes the thing out of his mouth, looks at it for a second, and drops it on the ground. The heat has disgusted him with himself. She watches the cigarette smoke on its own, and an odd thought occurs to her. She wants that cigarette to burn to the butt, its fumes curling through the air up into the trees, and get a squirrel high. That sets her off again: A young woman in pale pink, laughing alone.

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