Allergy Season

Spring in New York City--the trees and flowers were blooming in Central Park and on the sidewalk, the weather was warm, and hoards of shoppers walked the streets every day. It was the perfect weather to be out and about, enjoying the sun. Tony Higgins hated it. It's not that he hated nice weather or even that he hated people--he liked being outside and he was definitely a people person. No, it was the pollen, that fuzzy covering of yellow-green dust that was all over every surface that made Tony hate spring. Because he had allergies, acute ones. And spring was the time for all the lovely, evil, pollen-bearing plants to bloom.

So that is why, on a lovely spring Saturday afternoon, Tony was sitting in his New York University dorm room feeling sorry for himself, while his roommate and their friends were out playing soccer in Central Park. He was trying to study for a psych test but he couldn't concentrate. It wasn't just that he wanted to go outside, and hated to spend two entire months unable to breathe right; he also missed Aidan. Aidan, who was far away in Chicago. Aidan, who always knew how to get him out of an allergy-induced bad mood. Aidan, who he missed terribly.

Aidan and Tony had been going out for a little less than a year, having gotten together at the end of their senior year of high school. Then, promising each other that long distance could indeed work, they had parted ways for college--Tony to stay in New York while Aidan went to the University of Chicago. Hard as it was, they had stayed together. It was times like these though, that made Tony, sitting alone and allergic in his dorm, wonder if the distance was worth it. He put his psych book down for good -- there was no way he could get the material to stay in his head.

Just then, he heard the familiar strains of the Loony Tunes theme song--his ringtone. 'Who the fuck would call in the middle of the day?' he wondered, annoyed at the interruption. Digging around through the mess on his bed, he finally found the phone. "What?" he snapped.

"Hello to you too," came a sarcastic voice on the other line.

"Hey Aid'."

"Wow, bitchy much?"

"No, just allergic."

"Heh, yeah, I thought you might be. I remember what a bitch New York City springs were for you. So I thought I'd call and offer a bit of a distraction." That was Aidan-speak for 'You're probably suffering and pissed about the allergies, so I called to cheer you up because I love you and I miss you.'

"Whatever. If you have nothing better to do... thanks," which was Tony-speak for 'Thanks, you're awesome for doing this. I needed some love right now; you have no idea how awful I feel.'

That was just how the two of them did things. They never got mushy--just physical or sarcastic. Somehow, though Tony never quite understood why, it worked for them?

"So what are you up to?"

"Studying for a psych test. Or rather sitting with my head on my knees, trying to study for a psych test, wishing I could be in Central Park playing soccer with Nick, Diego, and Micah. You?"

"'Bout to watch a movie, since there's nothing else to do here, besides homework."

"Movie, eh?" Race let out a huge sneeze.

"Wow, you sound like crap."

"Thanks, I hadn't noticed. What movie?"

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."

"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Dude, excuse me while I burst out laughing."

"It's a good movie. You should watch it some time."

"Heh, funny timing. Nick actually rented it last night. Didn't see it yet, though."

"Dude, how weird is that? Hey, you still doing nothing?"

"Yeah why? Atchoo!"

"Wanna watch it together? To take your mind off how things suck?"

"So that I can have the pleasure of mocking you for watching it?"

"Bite me."

Tony growled. "I can't find the damn movie. I swear, Nick leaves so much crap around."

Aidan snickered. "Like you're any better."

"Hah! Found it." He removed the video from underneath a pile of Nick's shirts and popped it in their VCR. The opening credits started rolling. "Dude, what the heck is that thing? It's weird looking."

Aidan laughed. "I dunno, but I want one. Heh, look, it's creepy German type people. Achten zehnen gegessen durfen."

"Are you babbling in German?"

"Mocking the movie Tony, not babbling."

"You so babbled."

"Did not."

"Did too."

"Shut up and watch the movie. Hey, look, it's Sean Connery."

"Heh, he looks funny in that hat. What's this movie about anyway?"

"These characters from different books have to come together to save the world."

"And you're watching it? Wow."

"I'm bored so shut up. Heh, they just blew up the bar embassy type place. Awesome."

"Heh, yeah. Now everybody's running. Oh no, he said yes. Why go help? Why, why?"

"Hold on, going to get popcorn."

Tony heard Aidan put the phone down as he went in search of the food.

"Ok back," Aidan started munching on the food loudly.

"Yum, making me hungry. I want some."

"Hah you wish."

"This movie is getting really stupid. Psych would almost be better."

"Key word: 'almost'."

"True. Atchoo!"

Aidan snickered and continued to chew loudly into the phone.

"Stop eating so loudly, I want popcorn."

"Whine, whine, whine."

"Bite me."

"Rawr. This movie is stupid. But hey, cool, she's a vampire. How awesome is that?"

"Heh, I wanna be a vampire!"

"You are so weird."

"So she's from Dracula? And that dude's the Invisible Man?"

"Yeah. And that's Captain Nemo."

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

"I repeat: you are weird. And since when do you like kiddie movies?"

"Dude, Finding Nemo. It's better than this."

"I wish you were actually here. Then we could find better ways to amuse ourselves."

"Are you hitting on me, Aidan Conlon?"

"But of course, Antonio Higgins."


"This isn't really that bad. See?"

"Mm, yeah. Dorian Grey."

"Yeah, well, I'm hotter."

"Heh, maybe."

"I so am, but yum--Shane West."

"God, I wish it was you I was watching."

"Because I'm gorgeous."

"Because I miss you, dumbass."

Aidan fell silent. They didn't say things like that to each other--Tony must have really been feeling crappy and vulnerable to have uttered, 'I miss you' out loud. "Dude, same. But... what can we do, right?"

"I dunno. But this movie is boring me. Besides, the good thing about watching movies with you is making out. And you're not here to do that."

"Somebody's horny."

"Can you blame me? I'm alone and allergic."

"Oh my god, let's have a pity party for the poor, allergic man!"

"Asshole. Atchoo!"

"Guzundheit. Hey, are you even watching anymore?"

"Heh, no. You?"

"Me either. Talking to you is more entertaining."

"Thanks." Tony paused and looked out the window. "Hey, guess what? It's raining! Yes! This means the air will be clear of all the pollen! And I can go out!"

"Wow, I don't think I've ever heard somebody get that excited over rain before. You any better now?"

"Yeah... I still miss you though."

"Well, a month left of school. Then we have the whole summer."

"You know you miss New York."

"Hell yes. It sucks here. People are so boring."

Just then, Nick, Micah, and Diego came barging into Tony's room--dripping wet and muddy. "Look, I have to go, Aid'. Nick, Micah, and Diego are here and they're being loud," said Tony significantly to them. Nick just took off his sopping shirt and threw it at Tony.

"M'kay, talk to you later. And hang in there. One more month--then your horny little Italian ass is mine again."

"You know it. Bye, and by the way--that movie sucked."

"Heh, it so did. Bye." Tony clicked his phone off, ignoring the pointed looks he was receiving from his friends.

"It's raining, which means I can finally go outside without sneezing to death, so I'm going out. And Nick--League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?"

"What? I have a Shane West fetish. Sue me. Enjoy the walk, loverboy."

Tony flipped him off and walked out of the room, a sappy smile playing across his face. Maybe there were some upsides to allergy season after all.