Monday, October 15, 2012


Seen in Waukegan waiting for the Metra to Chicago at about 7:40 a.m. 

While he waited for the train back to the city, Christian thought about how his girlfriend Monica literally was from the other side of the tracks, and how that was sort of funny. He faced downtown Waukegan, its run-down, hopeless atmosphere enhanced by the overcast sky. His parents thought Monica was run-down, too. It was so unfair. Parts of Chicago were just like Waukegan. Worse, even. But then, his parents didn’t go to those parts of the city. And they certainly didn’t go to Waukegan. And they certainly didn’t want Christian going there, either.

“She’s not good for you,” insisted his mother.

“She’s poor, you mean.”

“No! Of course not,” interrupted his father. “How dare you accuse your mother of something like that?”

“Well, what’s your problem with her then?”

They didn’t say anything for a moment, then: “We don’t have to explain ourselves to you. We just don’t want you to see her.”

That’s how Christian knew he was right. That’s how he knew he had to keep seeing Monica. He wouldn’t give into his parents’ bigotry. Besides, Monica had the prettiest hair he’d ever seen. It was shiny and black, and it smelled like cinnamon. The moment she accidentally whipped it in his face at Montrose Beach, Christian was hers. 

I was in the suburbs visiting the family this weekend, so I took the Metra train in from Waukegan with my dad this morning. It was nice to have someone to commute with.

On Friday night I went to the Dollhouse Reading Series. It was wonderful! I quite enjoyed being invited into a cozy apartment with dozens of strangers to listen to some published poets. I definitely plan on going again, and I'd highly recommend it if you live in the Chicagoland area.

In other news, last night I finished reading J.K. Rowling's newest book (and her first book for adults), The Casual Vacancy. And let me tell you--it was one sad book! It was slow to start, and it almost seemed like she was trying a little bit too hard to remind you that this wasn't a book for kids at points, but the woman can certainly handle a complicated plot. Lots of characters, lots of subplots. It's partially a political social commentary, and partially a reminder that adults can often be as child-like as the children they're supposed to be raising. Was it the greatest book I've ever read? No. But I liked it. 

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