The end of a season.

Time to Settle Accounts

September 16, 2011: The end of a season.

It was 9:30 Thursday morning, the first chilly post-summer day. I was working at my desk, and Justin was working at his, as is our custom. Rob, ordinarily heard shuffling between his room and his desk and his kitchen now that he is finally done with his doctorate, was silent. He is returning to his home state of California with a good job in science awaiting him, and has spent much of the past two weeks loafing about, drinking afternoon and morning martinis, cleaning his room, and bulldozing his way through the first two seasons of The Wire and the last two seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The window in front of my desk was still open from the night before. A stern wind blew in. I heard Justin at his desk, conducting a conference call, but I did not hear Rob. Curious, I walked through the apartment, past Rob’s desk and room, (both empty), past the bathroom, (empty), into the kitchen (empty), and noticed the back door was open. It’s 50 degrees out. No way he’s – but sure enough I looked out the back window and saw the hammock swinging, the ends of Rob’s barefoot toes tangling in the cloth.

I returned to my desk amused, passing Justin on his way to the bathroom. After a minute or so, Justin walked over to me. “You know Rob’s on the hammock, right?”

I laughed. “I saw his feet.”

“That all?”

“What do you mean?”

“He’s shirtless.”

I hustled back to the deck and, this time, walked outside.

“Comfortable?” I asked.

“Quite,” Rob said, wearing only a pair of basketball shorts, sunglasses, and a hat. His computer in his lap, he nearly looked nude.

“You look nude.”

“I’m wearing a watch.”

“You must think you’re in Palo Alto already.”

“Up here…” he said, motioning to his head and shrugging.

“It’s 50 degrees and you’re in Chicago! It’s mid-September! Summer is over.”

“Summer doesn’t end until I say so. Look at that sun!” he said, and sure enough a powerful sun was keeping my friend just warm enough. “It’s hammock season!”

I laughed. “I’m going to miss you,” I said.

He smiled. “I’m going to miss you too,” he said.

NEXT: Life’s work. (10.11.11)

PREVIOUS: The Packers the champs. (9.12.11)


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