by Niall Chithelen
I tried to accelerate out of winter, really speed through things, but I think I messed up and broke spring. Definitely something amiss—nothing grew in; instead a green city flashed into a grey one. Lawns were unfurled overnight, flowers appeared, and now I sneeze many times in a row each morning. This, I think, must be a sign.
I spent the winter going from indoors to indoors. I put my coat on the back of the chair before sitting down. I took 90-minute subway rides and 12-hour train rides. I overstayed my welcome on every phone call. I made mistakes.
Some might tell you that our haphazard “spring” originates with much larger forces, that its sudden appearance is in fact the party-state at work, its conflation with summer the result of climate change, its wonders and tatters all borne of humanity. They might mention beautification and propaganda. They might use the word “anthropocene.”
But I don’t know. I suspect it was probably some moment, something I did. Next year, everything might go back to normal, and next spring’s problems might once again be caused by humanity. I will make amends, do better, and maybe we can all go back to how it ought to be—locking eyes after a fifth sneeze, pausing, and then laughing together through our uncertain spring.