she said, "don't think like that! you'll like it! it's just a city. really, it's like any other city. you'll get there and see that everyone's just trying to live." i walked in a zigzaggy pattern around the tree, avoiding the falling beetles. at first i'd thought they were bees, which made no sense because i'd never seen so many bees crawling around on tree limbs before. but upon closer inspection, i'd realized they were beetles. possibly mating, possibly killing each other. what's the difference.
"i'll hate it. it seems obnoxious. i mean, i'll have fun - it'll be fun. but i know i won't like it the way other people do. seems like a place i would hate. like it's nothing like me at all."
sweat was dripping from the bend of the arm that was holding the phone to my ear. i switched hands and wiped the sweat on my shirt. i didn't tell her that i always felt stupid, like i was the last person on earth who didn't understand the purpose of the buttons at crosswalks. no one ever pushes them. are they real?
i didn't say that i was scared of being alone around other people. or that years of not having time to think about myself had led to not being able to think about myself. i didn't say that knowing how to take care of other people didn't mean that i knew how to take care of me.
"well with that attitude," she said.
i stopped pacing and looked up at the beetles. i wanted to have on fewer clothes. i wanted a plastic cup full of ice water in one hand and a beer in the other. i wanted the phone to be her. it was burning my face.
"the bridges. i think you'll love them. when you're in the city, just walking around or whatever, it feels like any other city, mostly. but when you drive in on a bridge and you can see everything all at once..."
she said more things about feeling small and like you're a part of something bigger, someplace bigger, and the lights. i tried to imagine the bridges and what they would feel like. i kept accidentally seeing chicago's skyline, like in the opening sequence of 'family matters.' would i even be on a bridge? what business would i have on a bridge.
i imagined crosswalks and horns honking.
she said, "promise me you'll give the bridges a chance," and i said i would.