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Foster Beach, Chicago

by Diane K
(Chicago IL)

The prolonged power outage drove everyone to the beach. I didn't have air conditioning anyway, but it was freakishly hot and my cats were panting. I wet them down as much as I could and headed out. I lived within walking distance of Foster Beach. Sometimes I rode my bike there. Chicago is a city of extremes. Hundred degree weather, yet the water was still ice cold. When I started dating him, things were fun. He said he never used to go to the beach, but we went every day. He got tanner and tanner until he looked like a black man, he joked. We stayed up all night smoking and writing jokes. We had decadent, reckless, self-destructive fun together that summer. We went to a lot of neighborhood bars, which is where I met him. I went there often to write, and one night he walked in. Looking back, it was one of the worst and best things that ever happened to me. I thought he could be the one, I really did.It would only be three months later that I would discover I was pregnant. The relationship was falling apart by then. I don't even remember why. He thought we should get married, but I knew I wouldn't be happy. He said, "We should get married whether you're happy or not." He was in and out after that as he had no interest in being a father unless we were married. I resigned myself to being a single mother. It was exciting and terrifying. When our son was born, it only made sense that his first outing would be to the beach. It was a rare time that his Dad was with us. By then, late summer, it was a little colder and there were very few people there. I even remember what I was wearing that day--black velvet. Seven months later, we would move away and start over.

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