This morning dreamt that it was winter. Winter. Cold. I had to get to work. H not at home. She told me to stay with a friend so they could take care of me. But it was late. Late out. Dark. Night. Cold.
Leaving school late. Filing out of the train station. In a line going up wooden stairs. Slow moving line. I see JP from high school. He’s speaking French to a girl who’s with him. There is also a third man. I hear their French and turn to JP and say, “Mirate! Cómo hablas el francés!”
It’s cold out. And we aren’t moving. The line is at a standstill. A fire pit. Starting fires with matches and paper and large balls of cotton. JP and the girl are talking. Two separate fires in the fire pit. Both almost going out. Faint. But warm. I grab a pair of fire tongs and move the logs from one fire and add them to the other fire. Soon a warm blaze. Warmth.
But I was supposed to meet up with my friend to get to his house for the night. It’s so late. I’m so tired. Where will I sleep. Cold.
I follow JP and his companions to a restaurant in Wicker Park. It’s huge. Seven floors. On the 7th floor they do catering. Separate competing staffs for each floor.
It’s so crowded. Early morning but all these people are awake. There’s a reception for a prestigious photography award. JP is the winner. He has been covering a war in some part of the world. Has been taking pictures. The girl traveled with him.
We fight the crowds so he can get to the front of the room for some Q and A. People start hurling questions at him. No one can see. They shout, “No one can see.” JP yells back, “Everyone sit down except for the last row.” The audience complies. JP has a microphone in his hand and is squatting on his feet in an action stance between two speakers. There is a tv screen hooked up so that those farther back can see.
This is going to take forever. I can’t wait until it’s over. I have to leave. I had already told my sister not to meet me here to eat. We’ll just go to the Golden Nugget for breakfast before work. I should be there in 45 minutes. I told her.
As I leave. Make my way towards the door. There’s a press of bodies. CW, another friend from high school, making his way towards JP. Cursing. Joking. Pals from high school. Restaurant security grabs him and punch him in the head repeatedly. They continue to do so as I get out the door. J is with me. Golden Nugget? Let’s go.
It’s uphill. As far as the eye can see. Mountains of snow and ice. Blue light. We scramble up and down chunks of ice. Carving paths. Chopping our way through. Cutting tree branches where they block our path. Dark out. A few other people out. It’s easier to move on the other side of the street. We are constantly back tracking. How are we going to get there? We’re never going to make it on time. I’ve got to be at work at 8. Thinking of pancakes. My sister is already going to be there. Waiting.
We stop at a shoe store so I can get running shoes. I try on adidas and a pair of nikes. Light blue. Ultra light material. My foot eases into the soft cushion sole. I take them for a test run. Move slow. Running through deep mud. The shoes feel good. Maybe I can make it in these.
J and I run the rest of the way to the restaurant. It’s still dark when we get there. I’m looking for my sister. Golden Nugget is crowded and smoky. People in party hats. Last night is still happening at 6 o’clock this morning. People eating burgers and fries as pancakes are brought out to breakfasters. Who’s up at this hour? I wonder. I follow the waitress to a table. Golden tiffany stain glass panel lighting above the tables. My sister calls. She’ll be here in a few minutes.