Pine Street Episode 29

Spring brought sunshine, lilac blossoms, and wind.

Franny had anticipated the cold of winter, the snow and slush. She’d grown up in a place that had those kinds of winters and she knew to buy waterproof boots, she knew the feeling of the fine hairs inside her nose freezing when she stepped outside.

She understood the glory of early spring, when afternoons warmed up slightly, the sky took on a Delft blue hue, and the newest leaves on the trees sprung in bright lime green.

But the wind was new, and for the first month or so of spring, it nearly defeated Franny. She’d wake up, see the blue sky, toss on a light jacket, and head out to walk to the grocery or just stroll the alleys smelling the lilacs. She’d return to her apartment twenty or thirty minutes later feeling battered, nose running, skin stinging.

Her parka, ski cap, and gloves kept her warm in the snow. It didn’t seem any clothing or gear in the world would shut out that wind.

One of those beautiful sunny and diabolically windy days, Franny made her way down Pine Street with an overstuffed bag of groceries, leaning into what locals called a breeze, pausing when she lucked into a sheltered spot to blow her nose. During one of those pauses, as she returned her handkerchief to her pocket, she heard her name.

“Franny! Hi!” Leo dashed across the street toward her, wearing a sweatshirt and baseball cap. “How are you? It’s been a while.”

“Fine, but this wind!”

“I know, isn’t it great? I love it!” he beamed. “It keeps the air so clean, and look.” He pointed toward the southeast. “It pushes all the clouds over that way, so we get to bask in the sun.”

Franny’s sniff seemed to remind Leo that not everyone enjoyed a brisk thirty-mile an hour wind as he did. “Oh. I know, it can be tough,” he said. “Where’s your hat?”

“I couldn’t keep one on my head in this wind. How do you do it?”

Leo laughed. “My pointed head, I guess. Can I help you home with those?” He took one bag of groceries from Franny. “Then maybe buy you some lunch? We could catch up.”

Franny felt warm for the first time since she’d ventured out into the windy day. “Sure. But I have some soup in the crock pot, and in that bag is some really good bread. Would you be okay with eating in?”

Leo’s answer was in his smile and as they walked the last few blocks to Franny’s apartment, it seemed the wind calmed down and the only thing left in the air was the intense perfume of lilacs.

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