We said goodbye to the warmth last night, heading to the beach for one last night of swimsuit-clad freedom before the cold and ice move in to steal our paradise.
The four of us sat in the sand, shorts and sweatshirts, stretched out on towels, curled up on someone’s feet. Flashlights appeared behind us, four police officers stood before us, circling slowly.
“Having a nice night?” they asked.
“Nice enough,” I said.
We talked to them for about ten minutes, shooting the breeze. They had just wanted to come harass some college kids and, finding no beer on us, had found us amicable conversation. We talked about their nights, their jobs, our experiences with the police (I left a few instances out, obviously), why we loved the beach, etc. until they spotted some kids on the rocks nearby and decided to go sneak up on them.
Laughing, we bid them farewell.
The “gang-bangers” they had warned us about came up to us and we chatted for a second, exchanging pleasantries.
They went and stood by the water, the four of them, standing out against the gray-blue sky. Eventually, they found other excitement and left us to the lonely beach.
I went out into the water then. It was much colder than it had been even a week previous. I shivered, but there, under the dark sky, pooling clouds and almost full moon, I felt powerful, connected. The water around me was clear, not too deep, and little ripples had been made in the sand that makes up the bottom of the lake. I stood there, letting the waves hit my legs, and I just felt an utter sense of calm come around me and hold me.
Soon enough, my calm was broken by Ian, coming in to join me.
“We won, you know,” he said to me.
We have had this on-going competition, me and the boys. It involves going swimming in the lake at ridiculous times of the year. We have not yet gone in October, and us getting our feet wet seems to have counted. I later ruined the surprise and got objections from Hunter, who had not touched the lake, preferring to sit on the shore with Emily.
Our little group stayed there, laughing and talking for two hours, until 2am hit us harder than we had anticipated.
We were approached by another group, boys from Loyola, who told us jokes and generally amused us with their strange tales. Not joking, all of us were laughing at them instead of with them, but it was a good time.
They left and we were alone and then we left, too.
Tonight in film class I watched a movie called “La Haine” or “Hate.” It’s French and tells the story of opposition between the police and three youths living in the projects. It’s a beautiful story with a very sudden, shocking ending and it left me in love with the city I live in. “The world is yours,” a billboard reads. One of the young men changes it to read: “The world is ours.”
If the world was really mine I would drop out of Loyola and go to film school, but alas, that is not the case.
Instead, I have now. I have these experiences and this apartment and these friends. I won’t remember the logic test I have on Thursday. I won’t remember the fade of Dr. Pollock’s voice that makes me unable to concentrate in social justice. I’ll remember the beach, the games, the laughter.
Steve and I were talking today. It’s his senior year. He’s going to take the GRE in a couple of weeks. He has to go to grad school. One of his friends just told him today that they dropped that off of their life plan and have been experiencing utter bliss since. I told him it was all a precious balance, but that I’d take experience over extra-innings in education any day.
So today, remember something that filled you with an emotion. Any emotion, preferably a beautiful one. Remember feeling powerful, clear, invincible, loved, cherished, wild, or young.
I watched the train rumble by, headed north, as I left the campus today. The beautiful green haven meets the street, filled with cigarette butts and McDonald’s cups. All of those things are heaven to me. I’m in love with this city, with its strange noises and even stranger people. I’m in love with the sounds at night, the darkness, the shadows. I’m in love with the lake, the lights, the magic.