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Once in a Blue Moon, Revisited (a guest post by MTM)

Was she there before she was here, she asks? Well, let me tell ya….

Every day we live passes methodically and in most cases unremarkably. Sure, there are the landmark dates; the birthdays, the anniversaries, the varied special or Hallmark dates that we feel inspired or compelled to take note of. May 22, 1997 was not one of those ‘important’ dates. Maybe its significance came as it marked the transition when the warmth of the Spring day finally triumphed and carried over into the night.

It was the night that I remember. I was living in one of a long string of easy sublets that I habituated in my time in Chicago; this one was a three-month stint in a three-lobed tower at the south end of the Loop. Restless and rootless, I went to see a film–don’t recall what film–at the Fine Arts Theater in the old Studebaker Building on Michigan Avenue. Afterwards I found myself wandering about the city, a flaneur with the flat patois of the upper midwest.

I recall seeing a girl waiting to cross the street. In the bright moonlight she struck me as cute, at least from my distance. The light changed and she crossed. For a moment I thought of following her. But I didn’t; then she was gone. I headed off into Grant Park, eluding the aim of Bowman and Spearman, the two Indian Warriors that guard the entrance on Congress Ave. Once ensconced in the darkness of the park, the soundtrack of the night rose in my ears.

I knew this was more than a simple full moon; in honor of the occasion, the haunting sound of the Cowboy JunkiesBlue Moon Revisited” had been echoing off the bare walls in my apartment earlier that night.  Now, shrouded in the lonesome night, I was no longer listening to it. It was speaking to me. Painfully.

Who was it that caught my eye that night, then disappeared? Was the girl even real? All I know is that when I saw her again, five years later at a little cafe in Charleston, I did not hesitate.

Too Much is Just Enough: Remembering the signs and realizing they were true.

Was I There Before I Was Here?

For those of you who didn’t know it, MTM once lived in a little town called Chicago, Illinois. For six years, he ran his own architecture practice. He competed in worldwide architecture competitions, resulting in skyscrapers in Korea that he’s never seen. He was even a finalist in the Oklahoma City Memorial Competition and ended up on CNN.

Last weekend, he took me past a visible remnant of himself by showing me something he designed. On the front of a building in downtown Chicago, an entryway blared out MTM’s signature sensibilities, his clean lines and minimalist style. It was a piece of him that I could reach out and touch, from a time when I didn’t know him.

As we shivered our way around the city, I would catch our reflection, walking side-by-side in a random window glass. And, I wondered: did he ever walk this way and glimpse me? The two of us, together? When he ate fish and chips at his favorite pub, did a girl turn her head and conjure my image in her wake? Give him some clue of who he was seeking before he found me? Before he said hello?

I’ve studied photos of MTM from that time, scanning his younger face for the certainty of me. My favorite one of him from that era wasn’t taken in Chicago, though. It was shot in Japan. He is sitting alone in front of a glassy pond, broken by circular stepping stones, cherry blossoms dropping around him like pink-and-white confetti.

Somehow, I know I was there, too.

I just know it.

Too Much is Just Enough: Seeing the signs and knowing they are true.


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