We’re back home in Chicago, making efforts to recover from the time difference. Mikey and I have been waking up at 4am each morning so far and the days have been blending together. We had managed to miss most of this hot Chicago summer, but now I’m finding that waking early is working in our favour because we’re up in the morning when the temperature is still relatively cool.
Things in our neighbourhood have changed while we were away, a house on the corner of our street was knocked down and is being replaced, our neighbours gardens have grown tall. I’m writing early this morning at the sunlight begins to brush the tops of the tallest trees that I can see outside from our back porch. The old hardwood floor in the apartment has begun to shift and creak underfoot with the humidity. My husband forgot to water my houseplants while I was away, so I begin the job of attempting to revive the few that can be saved.
During our last week in England, Mikey and I met up with another old school friend of mine visiting from where she now lives and works on the other side of the country. We took a drive to the small town that we both went to school in and had a lovely lunch before taking a ride on the water taxi.
It was hot that day and the boat glided along the river, through the town, with classic rock blaring on the radio to break the relative silence of the river. The river banks were lined with people enjoying picnics or swimming in the water.
On the return journey, a couple of the bridges over the river were lined with children and teenagers taking turns to jump from the rail of the bridge into the river below, hitting the surface of the water with a smack and resurfacing to the jeers of their companions.
I remember back to when I was in school, some of the boys would dare one another to jump from the higher bridges into the water on the hottest days of summer. They, too, would hit the water with a loud splash and resurface to shouts and jeering from their friends.
We ended the day feeding ducks and playing hide and seek in the hedge maze at some museum gardens in the town. Plenty of other people were there, lying out on the grass like we used to during lunch breaks or after school. My friend and I spoke about how we never really though of the town as pretty when we were growing up, but returning now and looking at it through new eyes we can see all of the things that we must have missed the first time around.