This city breathes

My little sister Lisa and her boyfriend Sean visited Chicago last weekend. They arrived fresh from their 12-hour drive with a carload of sugar, essentially: Dr. Pepper, Easter candy, eggs ensconced in a basket made of cookie (from our Italian grandma), and more candy candy candy. Oh, and homemade spaghetti sauce (from my mom). Eliina and I took them in, gave them an air mattress, and, with Kevin’s help, showed them Chicago. I didn’t know what their two-day tour of Chicago should be. Monuments? Museums? We went to the Field, the zoo, Navy Pier…. and then started on diners like Clarke’s and hipster-kid stores like the Alley. You know. What you wanted to do when you were 20 and free in a city that breathes you out as you breathe it in. It reminded me of first arriving here, feeling anonymous, poor and unburdened. I still feel like that sometimes.

Cincinnati, O-hi-o.

My visit with Kirsten was a bath of good things, I swear to you sometimes the birds from Walt Disney’s version of Cinderella came down and alighted on our wrists. We lounged in the sun in a garden, consumed mass quantities of coffee in cute coffee shops, watched the yuppies in the nice part of town and the art kids in the art-kid part of town, swapped lovey-dovey stories, and remembered why the hell we get along so well.

There’s a “bus” in “busted”

Small dramas played out all around me on the bus to Cincinnati. The med student who’d bought a ticket for the wrong day and realized it only at that moment, with luggage in hand; the scrawny punk kid on his way to his ladyfriend, begging to be added at the last minute, he’d sit in the aisle if he had to; the two young African American women in the front row meticulously doing each others’ hair with curlers and pomade; the in-love hipsters who looked like they’d ordered themselves from Hipsters R’ Us and their one, less attractive companion who looked away while they made out at the rest stop.