The sun was stealth behind and between clouds that were the torn remnants of an old t-shirt. My hooded sweatshirt and capri pants without snow boots and socks were anomalies in February at the zoo. The zoo in February was its own out-of-place, unwelcome field trip. Warm from the sun, we walked between the habitats, becoming colder with each breath of icy words. You hurt me this supposed-to-be-winter day. And Chicago was getting bored of this game.
It wasn’t until after that day in February that you became heart-wired. I didn’t know this when I watched you walk down Fullerton and away. And I didn’t know then why I started to store your photos of the city’s hearts on my phone. Hearts flooded my inbox without caption. You never gave any explanation, of the hearts or of anything else. Not until yesterday.
Perched on patio furniture, you pitched me your idea for the coffee table book. How proper, tugging the strings of my material love. I heard you say that ever since that day at the zoo, you started seeing hearts everywhere. You believed that they were meant for you. I thought about the thirty-seven theory, then the celebrity trifecta speculation, then the obvious: how you can find just about anything if you look hard enough for it. It was a gorgeous summer afternoon, the day I sat in a lawn chair across from you, looking for you. You were looking hard in the heat, everywhere but here, busy finding hearts in my dog’s leash.
As you wish, the hearts will follow you from Chicago if you look for them. You can keep taking pictures and compile your book. This city’s search, though, may just be exhausted, because the ray of light you showed me nights ago, the one that illuminated a patch of grass by the toes of your sneakers didn’t look anything like a heart. Maybe Chicago is done with you, too. Touché. This city has begun to hold her hearts from your camera lens. And what if New York City does the same? The search may be come a validating frenzy, trying to give reason to your heart-wiring. I’m sure it’s not the shape you’re wired to; but you have to see it for it to be true.