Brought to you by the always genius of Ms. Sarah Plovanich
Archive for September, 2011
Amie flirts with the subway guy enough that he lets her ride for free. When her wink is just right, or when she’s not wearing anything over her bikini top, he lets both of us through the handicapped entrance. There’s a 25 yard ramp down to the train platform and I wonder if it’s to make it handicap accessible or just so we could race down it. Everything feels that way, made for us. This sky above, this city slowly making its way closer out the train window, this rocking action of the train that puts Amie to sleep on my shoulder, the damp darkness of the subway tunnels as we head underground, all of this is for us.
We liked Oak Street Beach because it was pedestrian only. No parking lot, only city dwellers. The night before, we listened to an album called Endless Summer and I listened and loved it and not because of the music. I thought if we sat and just played it on loop it would somehow make the dusk last longer and into the night, that we could be back porch sitters until the end of all things. She told me that night that she never waits to get her toes in the sand, that she loses flip flops that way, that she still gets upset when she sees any real shoes at the beach and we should go tomorrow.
Sure enough, when cement became sand after crossing under Lake Shore Drive, the flip flops flopped off and were left behind, me watching, as she ran flicking sand behind her, dropping bags and towels haphazardly as if she needed to get to the water before her next breath. Amie took pride in being a Great Lake Swimmer. She called it her tribe, a sense of belonging that the ocean-front dwellers would never understand. She’d say their water is too buoyant, that you don’t even have to try to stay afloat. She liked the metaphor of working to stay up, “like Carl Sandburg’s Chicago,” she’d say, “even our leisure time we muscle through.”
Her hair tangled, she made her way to the towels I laid out, collecting her discarded belongings on the way.
“The water’s cold,” she says.
“I read something about how it never really gets above 70,” I say.
“I like that I feel it everywhere. I like this I feel this everywhere.”