|Photo by SouthBranchChicago.com|
I paused to look through one of the windows, and found C_____ relaxing on a chaise lounge in the yard. She was either staying with my parents or at the BnB right next door. It had been so long since we'd seen each other, and she'd always been one of my favorite people at D_____. I wanted to say hello, but no matter how much I knocked on the window she couldn't hear me.
Maybe I was upset. Or maybe I had errands to run. Either way, I got into my old Nissan and drove off, and soon found myself in Chicago, in an industrial area somewhere west of Lakeview.
I parked my car and decided to walk, heading north and west. I got on and off the El, at stops I didn't recognize. I visited stores and galleries that were so strange and unfamiliar I sometimes wondered if I was still in Chicago at all.
Before long I realized I had to return to the BnB. But I'd forgotten where I'd left my car. All I could do was trace my way back in the general direction I'd come. But I was so far away, there were so many side streets, and I kept making wrong turns. The sky began to grow dark.
I passed a restaurant with outdoor seating. C_____ was there with a bunch of other women who'd worked at D_____, laughing and having drinks. Somehow I understood that she was leaving town soon, and this was the last chance I'd have to say hello. I called her name and waved, and though she was happy to see me I also knew I was intruding on their get-together.
One of the women came out to have a cigarette, and said she was now splitting her time between Chicago and Phoenix. I told her the way things were going here in Chicago, she was better off spending all her time there. People were losing their cars here, and some never found them again.