“I’ve got a question for you.” Alex leaned on the patina-coated Michigan Ave bridge. He looked down at that brown-brown liquid which in 300 feet would turn, somehow, into a wide-horizoned, blue-green beyond.
Classy, what he alone called her, leaned on the bridge-rail alongside him. Their hair and sleeves and pants and shoestrings billowed like sails in the wind—caught up in all promises, all the possibilities of the windy city.
He turned toward Classy, leaning his elbow up against the rail. His posture moved always so seamlessly, debonair and gentle, in every way. “How should one love dangerously?”
Classy exhaled one of those breathy laughs. Odd as it seemed to her, he always did see her as some kind of cave-dwelling, vehement sage. She suppressed a smirk and glanced over her right shoulder. She could see their dear friends, behind them, dancing about in 76-degree, sun-slathered delight. Classy knew he was talking about them, perhaps even for them.
Alex flashed one of his strong looks. His right eye glinted the noon-time rays and spelled out the delight that descended on him. His left eye condensed the sadness and fear that made his love so real.
“All love is dangerous,” Classy pontificated in her pretentious way. Her tide-watching gaze rolled back to reality, “—at least the way that you do love.” She shivered at the thought—of falling over the bridge rail.
He looked at her with furrowed brow. A corner of his mouth suggested charm. It never did matter who or what or when, the man just infused the world with glory at every glance.
“Don’t you think we ought to get a move on?” Classy glanced at her watch. “Harper’s supposed to meet us there at three, is he not?”
Alex stroked the back of his head, situating every strand of his slick hair.
Aline slid between them. Her soft maroon skirt swept around Alex and Classy’s legs like a delicate embrace. “Do you think I could drink it?” She gazed down to the river.
“I think you could fly!” Jonnie shouted as she jumped up onto the ledge. Thighs pressed against the rail and arms ready to be off with the wind—she seemed to kind of hang there. Perhaps, she even did lift off the ground for a moment.
Right away, Classy yanked at Jonnie’s dewy arm. “Back to the concrete, back to the buzzing motorcycles, and blaring horns with you!” Classy sneered, playfully sober. The tingling sensation that spread across Classy’s back, the moment Jonnie took flight, did not dissipate for sometime thereafter. She kept on imagining Jonnie finally succeeding in one of her venturous acts of splendor and stupidity. Down she’d fall, splashing right into the middle of that dubious river.
Meanwhile, Aline tucked her arm around Alex’s arm and enticed him to continue down the street. Her dark voluminous curls sprung to the rhythm of her steps. Aline’s head only reached Alex’s elbow, but height is no sign of power.
Aline landed in the city only two years ago, but her bright eyes and pure spirit were well-known. The homeless men that sat leaning against the Tribune would yell out as she passed. “Aline, my love!”
She never gave them more than a wink or a smile, but that was enough. Everyone that knows Aline, knows that that is enough. Her quick pace and hard steps, though awkward, had a rhapsodic flicker. Her hair felt like the blues and her eyes could enchant even Psyche.
Classy peered over her sunglasses at Jonnie. “I guess we move onward.”
“Well, I guess so!” she sassed in return.
The four eased their way down the Sunday-crowded sidewalks. Gliding north on Michigan Avenue at 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon is quite arduous for the city-dweller and the suburbian-shopper alike. But, Aline, waltzing was her custom and she led the way.
“At what point do you think Harper will find bigger and better things to do with his time?” Aline peered up at Alex.
“Harper’s not like that Aline,” Jonnie butted in, “You’ll know when you meet him. It’s like passing from Northwestern’s Microbiology program straight to the Goodman theater never even phased him.”
“He’s a singer then?” Classy peeked around to see Alex’s face.
Jonnie stopped mid-stride. “Of course he’s a singer!” She rolled her eye’s over to Classy. “You’d think working at that uppity bar might inform you about the regality of the town.”
Carol and Harper were going to meet the fan club at 3 p.m. just south of the boardwalk. Harper sat on the open air bench while the waited for the brown line train. The smoke from his Winston swirled in the windless moment only to be swept away in a thick gust diesel smog that ran through on the infamous Chicago wind. He reclined on his left—eyes down, inspecting the ever fragile wood slats.
Carol shot up from her seat beside him. Her feet slowly tight-roped along one of those slats. When she neared the edge of the platform, she swirled around on one toe and started her way back to the bench. She did this five or six times before Harper flipped his cigarette onto the ground. He stomped it and used the outside of his foot to slide it into a crack, to fall into an even more secure death—cremated and into the wind.
The tracks trembled. “Train,” Carol stated.
The doors slid open and Carol slid in. Harper picked up his canvas tote and walked into the car. “Suppose they will make it there?”
“Ya mean before us? Or ever?” Harper blank stared at Carol, who felt laugh rise up in her throat. Carol was a bad egg, three months new to the city, fresh out of the Indiana’s wheat. She stroked the straight blonde hair tucked behind her ears. Everybody was somewhat unclear as to why Carol was there. Why she moved to the city that is. She was not a dancer, or singer like Harper nor was she a wide-eyed university student, as Harper once appeared. To tell you the truth, she kept her past to herself for the most part. After her highschool-sweetie husband left her she learned not to trust anyone.
Harper smiled at her. “I suppose that you would like to know where I was last night?”
Carol’s eyes rolled to the far end of the train and back to his, “I don’t really give a damn.” She lied. “Just glad you’re here now.” She truthed.
The train weaved its way around the buildings. Brown line bore the most scenic and interesting rides. Neither of them had to look out to know that they were curving around the Steppenwolf theater, a very distinct bout of the ‘El.’