Size small, sausage and green olive, extra crisp: your pizza order at Roberto’s. We didn’t get pizza on this trip, but I took a picture of the storefront for you to show you that I didn’t forget it.
All the years we visited your parents, we never walked or biked along the Prairie Path. You would be happy to know, I spent two days running all the way past Hamburger Heaven through Lombard! The crushed gravel under each step sounded a lot like trails we had biked on at other places together.
Walking along the sidewalk back to Mom and Dad’s, I see this place through your eyes. You walked or rode your bike within a 30 mile radius when all’s said and done. The trees are a lot taller now, some are gone or have been replaced.
We invited Big John over for a campfire. He retold the funny stories about you and he having spitting contests when you were little kids. I guess that’s why you could spit out of the car window like a pro. That’s the only thing I would have changed about you – no spitting out the window!
When we would drive though the neighborhood streets, I loved how you would point out every house and who lived there growing up. I miss our holding hands in the car and these special drives together, just talking. You could recall every detail of every friend or otherwise. I knew them through you. Our daughter has adopted your favorite pair of sunglasses you used to wear.
Some of the houses are torn down now, and replaced with embarrassing monstrosities that are ruining the quaint simplicity you once knew. I just heard that the school across the street may be razed and be replaced with something completely new.
I decided to take a nap in your old bedroom, in the very bed you slept in as a boy. I wanted to dream so much of you, to feel you on my skin. I awoke to the sound of the old clock in the living room with its incessant chiming that never gave you peace.
As I lay awake, I listen closely to the birds chirping in the backyard, and I hear your Dad calling for your Mom to help him find his phone. My body can’t move quite yet, it’s not time to put my foot on the floor and get up. The soft blue light of the room gives me encouragement to close my eyes again for just a few more minutes. ~Paula