April's Fool's Days: A Short Story

April was a fool.

“It’s because I had you on that day,” her mother always sneered. “One second earlier or one day later and I would have had a perfectly normal child. Instead, I have a fool.”

April was happy to be a fool, despite the snarl that tore through her mother’s lip, whenever her mother said the word. It meant April was not like everyone else.

She was happy to be a fool -- that is, until she met Derek at a rally.

Derek was no fool. He was tall, smart, and handsome. He radiated charisma like a fine art flu
orescent tube.

“Are you a Russian prince or something,” she asked.

“No, of course not.” Derek looked up from his iPhone, smiling. “What a foolish thing to say.” He used the word with a smile, a laugh, and a wink. Unfortunately, April could only see and hear the snarl of her mother’s lip.

They worked side by side for weeks on the campaign and, suddenly, all of April's foolish ways seemed to her to be awkward and obtuse. Her puns were stupid. Her laugh was garish. Her clothing was a dog’s breakfast of colors and irregular layers. Her friends were stupid.

By the end of the campaign, she decided, once and for all, never to be a fool again.

Several weeks later, when Derek arrived at the fancy wine bar for April’s birthday party, she was pleased that he couldn't easily recognize her in the crowd.

“I've been looking all over for you, April,” he said, when he finally recognized her. “Why are you hiding in the corner?”

“I’m not hiding,” she replied stiffly, resisting the urge to jump on him like an ill-trained Labrador.

“Is something wrong?” he asked. “You don’t seem yourself today.”

“I’m not different,” she retorted, resisting the urge to fidget in the unfamiliar clothing. “I’m more like myself today than ever before.”

“Really?”

“Yes, you know how it is with campaigns. Sometimes people aren't really themselves. In the heat of the moment, you know,” she said, repeating the words almost as evenly and coolly as she had rehearsed them. “Why don’t you grab a glass of wine, I will join you at the bar in a minute.”

“Oh. OK.”

On the way to the bar, Derek stopped, as if he might turn around. Instead, his radiance seemed to flicker, then, dim, and he turned towards the door.

At that moment, April’s cell phone rang out and La Cucaracha vibrated through her tiny purse. She had forgotten to change the ringtone. Her mother was calling.

April then did the most foolish thing she has ever done in her life.

She ran after Derek, knocking over two waiters, spilling three glasses of red wine, and ruining, at least, one dress. She told him everything.

“April,” Derek replied, as his radiance grew bright once again, “why would I want someone like me? I have me already. What I want is you.”

She decided, once and for all, never again to see or hear the snarl that her mother’s lip had put into so many words, and, when she could, she basked in the happiness Derek radiated whenever she was near him.

Exactly one year later, she accepted his proposal of marriage and he accepted her proposal for the wedding. They agreed to have the most foolish wedding anyone had ever seen.