Time to Settle Accounts
February 10, 2012: Whether.
“No coat?” Justin asked from the couch when I reached the door. It was 10:30 a.m.; I’d taken a look out the window and saw grass, branches, and concrete and settled on jeans, a button down, a sweater, my hat, and my blue L.A. shoes.
“Looks kinda warm,” I said.
“How can it look warm?” He banged away at his computer. “34 degrees.”
“God dammit,” I muttered, and walked to the closet to grab my winter coat. When I left Marshall less than an hour later to head downtown, the snow was swirling around me. A far cry from Los Angeles, certainly…
I had a meeting at True Star at 3, and at 2:15 I trudged into Harold’s, wiping clean my now-battle-tested Top Siders. I got my chicken and took a seat in a booth. To my right past the divider was a young man eating alone. He wore a black coat with black hair and a black beard and clear braces and quiet eyes. We were the only two people eating in the restaurant.
“How’s your day going?” I said after a bit.
He looked around, confirming my intentions, and then said, “Oh – uh, great. Yours?”
“Great!” I said.
“Do you go to school here?” he asked, referring to nearby Columbia College.
“No, I just look young. You?” He nodded. “What year?”
“Junior, but it’s my first year here.”
“Where did you come from?”
“Get out! I just got back from there yesterday.”
“Did you like it?”
“It’s wonderful. The oranges are AMAZING. And of course,” I motioned toward the window and the falling snow, “you know.”
“I like it here,” he said. “Beats 80 degrees any day.”
I stared in disbelief, and then giggled nervously. “Uh… you serious?”
“Not really. But it is kind of neat.”
“Snow,” I said incredulously, confirming.
“Yeah,” he said. “This is my first time seeing falling snow. I can see how it wears you out, but heat wears you out too.” He took a bite of his chicken and wiped the sauce from his mouth. “Besides,” he said, “I’m here to work, to meet new people, get a new perspective. Can’t do that in Chicago without snow.”
I smiled. “No, I suppose not.”
“Weather’s just weather,” he said, enjoying another bit of chicken. “I’m here to work.”
NEXT: Many moons. (2.11.12)
PREVIOUS: Happiness is. (2.9.12)