Like Summer


Because when you smiled like spun golden daybreak, planted your palms on your hips and said “I play a bimbo on TV!” there had to be a place to tell the story.

It was July. Blisteringly hot on the Chicago Lakefront. This was a couple of summers after “The Blues Brothers” was shot, reviving Chicago as a movie making location. Even movies that would someday be “put on the shelf.”

I nodded and said “Mmm” when you used that phrase. Pretending I knew what it meant. This was an hour or so after you had swung your leg up above your head, slipped it into the stirrup, and with a grace that looked as if you had the whole move planned, sailed over the horse and back down splat into the just watered-down mud on the other side.

And I was the only one in the beehive of people and cables and cameras and 3rd assistant directors and people—like me—who had just stopped to watch; I was the only one who didn’t laugh.

Which wasn’t easy. Because you were born funny. Funny falling from the horse. Funny when you grabbed the soap from me in the shower later that night and started singing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Funny was something that was in your blood.

The really funny part, though, was that every time you said “you really don’t know who I am?” – and I would answer with a different name each time – I really, truly did not know who you were.

I believe my first guess was “Gandhi?” To which you answered. “How did you figure it out?”

“Blondie’s hot sister” came next. Later it was “Gidget with the Truck Stop Mouth.”

You thought it was both wonderful and disappointing that I had never seen your TV show.

After I handed you my beach towel to get the mud off and said, “Guess you don’t ride horses much, huh?” You smiled hesitantly. Then gave me a top to bottom look as if you were an x-ray machine and said, “What?”

And I said, “So do you want to do what TV people do or do you want some Italian Food where the real people eat?”
“Where I come from, there are no real people.”

“Oh, so you’re some kind of surfer chick huh? How does a surfer chick come to make a movie about medieval knights. . .”

“In white satin.” It was as if we’d always finished each other’s sentences.
“That dress looks like it weighs as much as a small car,” I said.

“Pretty close. But I got a tank top and cut off shorts and flip-flops in that trailer over there. If I go put them on, will you wait?” she looked up at me.

“Don’t you have to ask someone permission to just leave?”
And again that smile of yours. “I play a Bimbo on TV. I can do what I want!”

So we walked over the North Avenue bridge and onto where the water met shore and started heading south towards the giant DRAKE HOTEL sign and the Four Seasons where you kept saying you were staying and every time you did I said, “Yeah, right.”

About half way to the Drake Hotel you said, “OK. Let’s just say I’m not staying there. Let’s just say I DON’T play a bimbo on TV. Let’s say I live right here on this piece of cement.” And you sat down, swinging your legs over the side, above the water. I sat down next to you. And we started talking. About Los Angeles. About your Dad. Your TV show. The talk came like some sort of thousand mile river. Winding and flowing, wild and raging, then soft like a hidden forest pond.

The sun started going down behind the buildings. And in the early easy darkness I took your hand as we got up. Your long blond hair tumbling out as your red baseball cap came off. You reached down and snatched up the cap. “I don’t want to be recognized, not now.”

“Yeah, me neither.” And you stuck your tongue out looking like Lucy trying to stare down Desi and I remember thinking, this is what a star looks like.

At the Four Seasons you walked into the lobby and people started bowing and scraping like some sort of Queen just showed up and you whispered, “Just look down till we get to the elevator.” And when the elevator door glided shut with a whoosh, you looked at me and said “Whoosh!” and you kissed like sunlight.

Up in the silence of the big suite I opened drawers and tapped on walls and played with electronic stuff I didn’t understand while you got ready to go out.

There was a Linda Ronstadt song playing. “You and I travel to the beat of a different drum.” You came out of the bathroom just as thunder crackled across the city sky. We went to the window and the rain was coming down on Lake Michigan in sheets. Linda Ronstadt sang, “Don’t get me wrong, its not that I knock it. . .” We started dancing.

And we didn’t leave that room for two straight days.

9 Responses to “Like Summer”

  1. otherwisetravel Says:

    I can feel the sunshine when I read this.

  2. boomerbob Says:

    Very nice. Makes me wish for some lightning of my own 🙂

  3. Naomi de Plume Says:

    The nostalgia mixed with the sexiness is a heady combination. You captured the feeling of “the start” so beautifully – and it is *such* an amazing feeling.

    • chicagoguy12 Says:

      Thanks Naomi! The “start” is what I was going for here. This piece has a middle and an end part too. Am trying to figure out whether to include them in the book. . . .

  4. toritto Says:

    Hi Rog! Nicely done. As usual! You surviving Winter?? 🙂


  5. chicagoguy12 Says:

    Hey Frank! What a pleasure to hear from you! You’ll never believe what I just discovered? Shoveling snow is not as easy as it was when I was 30!!!!! Which kinda sucks!

  6. Jeremiah Says:

    Roger — so glad to hear you talk about “the book.” To judge from this little gem, you’ll be working the memoir beat. Whatever may be the case, I’m looking forward to more of the same. Cheers –

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