By Amelia Lowry
April gallops gracefully around her friends. The eleven faces of her closest companions all blur into one as she runs.
“April, stop dancing and come sit down with the rest of us,” September orders.
“Woah, Sep, chill,” June says lazily, chewing loudly on a giant wad of bubble gum. “It’s not like she’s, like, doing drugs or something.”
At this, all eleven people in the circle exchange dubious looks.
“I don’t get why anyone would do drugs. I mean, isn’t life just amazing as it is?” December asks with a wide smile on his face. “April knows what I’m talking about, right April?”
April skips lackadaisically over to her friends. Her long hair bounces up and down behind her each time her bare feet hit the grass.
“Hey man, did someone, like, say ‘April’?” April asks in her watered-down voice.
September narrows his eyes upon April’s approaching.
“Sep, what’s the matter, dude? The war is over if you want it,” April says to September, kneeling down beside him. He grumbles and tries to scoot away from her, but October stops him with a spooky, eyeliner-rimmed look.
“Hiya, April!” December cheerfully chitters. “I was just tellin’ the gang about how great life is! Don’t you just love it?”
“Totally, man, it’s outta sight. It’s the grooviest time of year — you know how I love April,” she says with a lethargic smile.
“I know I love April,” February says. February gives a sly wink and twirls a lock of curly hair with her slender, pink-polished fingers.
Without missing a beat, December shows the group a glimpse of his twinkling eyes and rosy cheeks. “I love April too — the sun is out, the grass is green — it’s the best time of the year!”
“Oh my God, December, you say that every twenty-four hours,” September replies hotly.
“Simmer down, my friends,” April says.
June changes the subject. “It sure is a chill time of year,” she says. “The twentieth will be here before we know it.”
“Every day is April twentieth if you try hard enough, man,” April says. “Besides, dudette, you gotta think bigger. Expand your mind.”
December grins broadly and says, “Yeah, Christmas is on the way!” He looks off into the distance lovingly, as if he’s thinking about all the different flavors of candy canes, or how soft Santa’s beard is. “Here comes Santa Claus,” he mutters under his breath.
April follows December’s gaze. “Oh, yeah, I think I can see him, man,” she says.
“That’s not Santa Claus, you imbeciles, it’s just a red-breasted robin,” September says.
“Did someone say ‘breast’?” February asks, suddenly alert.
April stretches out, lifting her kimono-covered arms high above her head. Everyone turns to look at her — her sudden shift in movement enough to gather their attention.
“Oh, hello friends,” April says when she notices everyone’s eyes on her.
“What’s your favorite holiday, April?” December asks.
“Oh, that’s a tough one man. It’s tough to decide between Earth day and Arbor day,” April replies. She puts her arm idly over December’s shoulder. “It’s like the two days of the year where everyone is, like, united in the common goal of loving the planet. You know I’m all about the love, man.”
October readjusts his clunky headphones and asks, “April, what is Earth Day? I don’t really know a lot about the Earth.” He pushes his straightened, black hair out of his pale face and looks toward April. More darkly, he says, “I spend most of my time in the underworld.”
“It’s just some dumb hippie holiday. What does it matter? Arbor day, too — they’re just excuses for hippies to hug more trees,” September says.
“Hey man, make love, not war,” April says to September. “Don’t let the man keep you down, October. He probably just didn’t eat his granola this morning.”
“Nobody here eats granola except you, April,” September spits.
“Whatever, my friend. Anyway, Earth Day always falls on April 22nd and Arbor day is on the 29th. I’m planting trees down on the park if you want to join me,” April says.
“Oh, the 22nd? No can do — I’m making some sacrifices that day,” October replies.
“Thank god,” September says. “That’s what this country was built on — some elbow grease and a lot of sacrifice.”
October gives September an ice-cold look. “I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing.”
“It’s totally turbulent, October,” April says. “You don’t have to plant trees to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day. Another thing you can do instead is make people feel bad for throwing stuff away, or protest at your local bank.”
“Why the bank?” September asks, suddenly intrigued.
“Because, man, money doesn’t grow on trees. But you know what does grow on trees?” April asks. Nobody responds. “Air. Why don’t banks help with air? Don’t they know that the air is contaminated? Don’t they know that they, as Americans, are to blame for 25% of carbon dioxide pollution in the environment?”
There is a drawn out silence as everyone digests April’s sudden attitude.
“Well… I’m glad you feel so passionately about something. That’s the bomb,” October says.
“Hey man, watch your language!” April shouts neurotically. “The trees can hear you!”
“Anyway, April.” February flirts, batting her eyelashes. “What are you doing this Friday?”
“I’m going to Wall Street,” April says, shaking her head. “Nobody wastes paper like those tree-hating fascists.”
“Ooh, I bet that’ll be a real good time. But you know what they say — you’re gonna need a honey if you wanna save some money. Whatdya say, April? Do you wanna –” February began, lowering her eyes to April’s beaded peace-sign necklace, “take a chance on me?”
“No, man, we humans have no right to take the bee’s honey, man. That’s just like us humans, taking what isn’t ours. Like trees, man. Trees don’t belong to anyone,” April says. “That’s why we have to serve the trees, man. Arbor Day is the perfect day for you to serve them. Pick up some trash. Recycle. Plant trees, get your hands muddy, man.”
“I love it when you talk dirty,” February says.
“Far out, dudette, it’s a date. Is the 29th okay, man?” April asks February.
“The 29th is perfect, pick me up at 8,” February responds with a wink.
“Okay, man, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to fit you on my bicycle,” April says, scratching her head, and sways to her feet. “I gotta jam, guys, there’s a protest against fracking going on soon, man.”
April starts skipping away, leaving her eleven friends in near-silence. February is still sitting on the ground, forlornly looking at the grass.
“Oh, I didn’t know she had something against fracking,” February says.
Amelia Lowry is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram.