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Driving down Lakeshore Drive behind brake lights, swimming in the sound of car horns, I passed beaches packed with people. Places that held pieces of me.

Past Montrose, where we walked the harbor, talked about sailboats
Past Irving Park where I rode Steve’s bike and saved that gal’s life
Past Fullerton, Belmont, whirlyball and the bakery
Past North Ave, the hockey rink, me against you
And Oak Street, Berghoff Book Club
Then Navy Pier, where the traffic breaks free.

Harbor after harbor, there were bare legs hanging off the backs of docked boats. Sweaty t-shirts sticking to running bodies. Spray from Buckingham floating across Grant Park. Lanes ending suddenly around the bend, cars forgetting to merge, as they do. And I, waiting patiently and thinking possessively, this is my city. Which, it isn’t. I don’t live in the city limits. Not now anyway. I’m driving thirty miles South to my home in the suburbs.

But, this, this downtown and North end bustle, this sprawling cityscape, all of which we suburbanites call “downtown” anyway, is what I know and where I’ve spent years upon years. It’s where I just settled down and found a crew and got plugged in and started to love again.

And tomorrow I will leave and start again.

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