Her name was Dalia. She was the life of the party and had the sweetest laugh and her smile was home, whatever home meant. She had been born the very first day of summer, a year when the winter had been particularly terrible and spring too cold and rainy for anyone who enjoys the smell of flowers. Her parents named her Dalia, after the beautiful and delicate and so very alive flower that bloomed on the garden in their backyard every summer.

He loved her very much. She was so beautiful and she was the sun, he would tell her. She was light and love and beauty and all the stars in a single pair of hazel eyes. She was warmth, and like he told her so many times, he needed warmth as desperately as he needed air. You are home, he told her, you are the happiness I lack within, he told her through song lyrics that are as good as the blindness of love will let them be. He thought she was perfect, and though she knew that to be far from the truth, she thought she would let him believe it. It’s never too terrible to feel like to someone in the world you are as perfect as the sun.

She let him love her, of course. She loved him too. He was nice and sweet and sang her silly love songs and it was summer. It’s always so easy to fall in love in the summer.

But fall always comes and with it a reminder that is somehow both painfully obvious and terribly surprising. The leaves that were once green and so so alive turn yellow and brown and they die. Of course they die. Everything dies after all. With fall the wind turns colder and it whispers in young lovers years a reminder that is somehow both painfully obvious and terribly surprising: summer does not last forever.

He did not love her so much when it wasn’t warm outside. It’s not so easy to love fall, of course it’s not. Not when summer was so beautiful and warm and filled with kisses and silly love songs and quiet lovely afternoons at the beach. But fall always comes. Some years it might wait longer and hide behind sunlight, but the leaves always turn brown and fall to the ground, and he did not love her so much when summer left them and the wind whispered to them the too known secret of life.

Winter came. Summer flowers don’t do very well in the winter, and that year the winter was too cold. There was the snow outside, too white and too blank, invisible marks of what the wind had taken from her. Summer flowers don’t do very well in the winter, not when they think winter is just the time to wait for summer holding your hands to the heart. The snow is far too cold, and it was her biggest fear. She was alone and meant to be warmth and terribly afraid.

And yet spring came. Spring always comes. There is something unremarkably beautiful about the first day when the snow is gone, and the sun is coming back, and you are alone and so very here, watching the first flowers bloom.

She really loved the summer flowers that bloomed in her backyard, she realized. And she maybe loved the coldness of the snow, because when spring so inevitably came, there was nothing quite as sweet as the first dahlia that bloomed in the garden.

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