Thursday, November 29, 2012

Edwin

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:20 a.m.

“Do you see that cemetery?”

The boy stopped staring at his feet and looked up at the strange old man who had asked the question. His chin was tucked close to his chest. His face sagged, but he had a good amount of hair for someone his age. His tie was flipped over backwards.

“Me?”

“Yes, you! Who else would I be talking to? You see that cemetery?”

It was difficult to not see the cemetery. It was huge. “Yep.”

The old man leaned closer, as if he were about to confide a dark secret. “I live on the other side of that cemetery.”

He must be senile or something. “Oh. Nice.”

“When was the Great Chicago Fire?”

The boy thought for a second. He was never good with dates. “I dunno. Like the 1790’s or something?”

The man’s bushy eyebrows rose with incredulity. “No, boy! Chicago wasn’t even founded until the 1800’s.”

“Oh…maybe 1876? 1876 sounds familiar.”

“Much closer. It was 1871. You know, Chicago proper didn’t used to go much further north than Fullerton. So these cemeteries used to be outside the city. Which makes sense, when you think about it.”

“Yeah, I guess. Don’t want the dead inside your city walls.” The boy thought that the old man didn’t belong inside the city either. Downtown was too modern, too busy. The old man wasn’t dead, obviously, but he was a relic from another time. The boy could picture him living in the cemetery, drinking from the little mossy ponds, sleeping inside a decrepit mausoleum. “Huh. I didn’t know that. Thanks.”

The old man placed his veiny hand on the boy’s shoulder. “My pleasure. I’m Edwin, if you ever need me.”

“Right. Edwin.” Oddly, the boy felt like he just might need Edwin in the future. He decided to keep the name of the doddering historian in mind.

Went to trivia last night. It was fun, but now I am quite tired as a consequence. Rule of Trivia: Don't Overthink Pearl Jam. It's a good piece of advice. You can't go wrong.

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