Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:12 a.m.
Max flipped to the next chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was the 17th time he'd read the book. He ran his fingers through his curly red hair and braced himself for the part when Harry finds his parents' grave in Godric's Hollow. He didn't want to cry again. Besides, he needed to pay attention and look for clues.
Max was a member of the Chicago chapter of The Believers, a network of Harry Potter fans who were convinced that the 7-book series was not entirely fictional. J.K. Rowling could not have possibly invented such a richly detailed world without some real inspiration. The Chicago chapter met on Tuesday nights at Moody's Pub in Edgewater, since it reminded them of the Leaky Cauldron. Every week each member was assigned an investigative project; Max's current project was to identify potential real-world locations of Godric's Hollow.
He already had a few ideas. In his bag he carried a map of the UK with red X's marking each possible site. For Max, finding Godric's Hollow was the equivalent of finding buried treasure. He was determined to unearth the secrets of the wizarding world. He desperately wanted to explore this final frontier--to eat a feast in the the Great Hall of Hogwarts, to drink butterbeer in Hogsmeade, to wander the halls of the Ministry of Magic, to stroll down Diagon Alley and marvel at all its magical shops. Max was flying to London in just three months to pursue his dream. If you were there, if you knew his earnest passion, you would have wished him luck.
I love Harry Potter. We all knew this would happen someday. I was so excited to see somebody reading it on the train, even though the books are so popular that it's probably not particularly unusual. Anyway, I must run. Go-go dancing tonight!