Sunday, July 30, 2006

Getting to Like You, Getting to Hope You Like Me

Of course, the summer we move to Chicago is the summer when it suffers sustained over-100-degree heat indexes in the worst heat in 10 years.

Yet, I have been feeling my first twitches of love for my new hometown and neighborhood. One day last week, my father-in-law dropped by for an unexpected visit. Nutmeg was napping, so after chatting with him and setting him up with all the icy Diet Coke he needed, I headed out to run an errand. Between one block and another, the oppressively humid, hot day changed around me. It began to get dark, and I thought, gee, I hope the Post Office will still be open. Then I remembered that it was 5 p.m. in summer. This was the darkness that sweeps over a Midwest town suddenly with a dramatic thunderstorm. The wind picked up from the East, and I could actually smell the freshness of Lake Michigan 5 miles away. I picked up my pace, hoping to make it inside before the downpour, and it's lucky I didn't trip over a curb, because I couldn't take my eyes off the rapidly changing skies. The rain never came, it blew right past, but I was reminded of some of the magical, spooky weather I love in the Midwest.

When I got back, Nutmeg had woken up and had been nothing but delighted to be greeted by Grandpa instead of Mommy. They were happily doing a puzzle together. Daddy came home and we all went out for pizza, then walked down the shopping street in our neighborhood for ice cream. There was a free concert going on in the square. We took our ice cream over there, and as soon as Nutmeg finished eating, she joined the other little ones in the area right in front of the stage, dancing and shaking maracas. The air had cooled to that beachy vacation temperature that I love, and we leaned on the railing around the fountain and watched. I thought about how rare it would be for us to walk around our old SF neighborhood for pleasure, much less come upon unexpected wholesome community entertainment.

Yesterday my parents came and put Nutmeg in their SUV and took her to Wisconsin for the weekend. We have adult guests in the house, and the place is an oasis of calm and adult conversation. I called Nutmeg this morning, and this line from a James song comes to mind: "You're driving me crazy/When are you coming home?"


Notta Wallflower said...

It's funny about the conflicting feelings one has when their child is gone for a short time.

Bert said...

Oh, I'm so glad you're beginning to love your new city! As much as I miss you, I'm sure it's a great place for you. I can't wait to see it. :)