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Linda Mickey

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Chicago Dawn
By Linda Mickey
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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Things are rarely the way we assume they are. All Heather's solid beliefs about who killed her husband are wrong, as she tragically discovers.

I cut the headlights and peered up through the car windshield. Gray clouds rushed east to Michigan after leaving half an inch of rain on Chicago streets. Tree limbs stretched toward the night sky like black skeletal fingers.

Time to get moving.

With my Bears stadium blanket pulled tightly around my shoulders, I exited the car and waited for my eyes to adjust and then trekked across rain-soaked grass toward the water and my destination.

Just above the spot where the beach slides away from the shoreline, between scrubby hawthorn and an old oak, a weathered gray park bench perches above the sand. In the center of the top rail a brass plate reads ‘In memory of Bernard Melton.”

I sat down, crossing my legs underneath me, and arranged the blanket so it covered my feet. Leaning back against the plaque, I filled my lungs. Even a good rain could not entirely wash the smell of dead fish from the air.

“Hi, Bernie.” I patted the wrought iron armrest. “I couldn’t bring Stan with me this time. But you already know that, don’t you? Maybe by now the two of you have met? I hope so. Having your name on a bench in this exact spot…Stan always felt you must have appreciated this place as much as he did.”

My body trembled. I pulled the blanket closer even though it wasn’t the Canadian cold front that made me shiver.

“I don’t get much sleep these days, Bernie. I still reach out for him at night. Will that ever go away?”

I wiped my jacket sleeve across my eyes.

“I went to a party last night, Bernie.”

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