And the boat will rock and occasionally rise, the tide high or low (but I don’t know), and we will glide in our seats, unsure of what is flowing forth before us, certain only of our bodies, separate and together, moving easily through space and time;
And we will lie in the grass at Millennium Park, while the city’s choir of children belts out their music in rehearsal onstage, in anticipation of the President’s visit that evening, in expectation of something resembling future fame and glory.
And I will watch your face as you ask me questions, your fingers drawing imperceptible circles in the grass, and you will listen intently to every word I say, however petty or banal, even in moments of characteristic distractibility, you are present, and I am here;
And you will speak in circles or in tongues, and I will find myself enraptured, enlivened, captivated by every word, I will not forget the way your eyes light while you are speaking, the strong and steady cadence of your fingers (yours are doctors’ hands);
And we will wait for something said or unsaid, but the cadence of our footfalls on pavement and grass and urban paths tells more than enough;
And I will anticipate your stories, seek answers to the questions that have eluded me for many years, who keeps your secrets, how do you love, what makes you safe;
And you will laugh at my jokes, and give me space and time and freedom, all the while providing comfort and generosity, a sense of home;
And I will smile at the slight curl of your hair, the wrinkles growing at the corner of your eyes, which contain within them the slight imperfections of your skin, this face I want to touch;
And you will bring your running shoes and I will forget mine—you will remember your suit and I will forget a suitable dress, but we will go to the symphony and I will cry at the siege of Leningrad, the idylls of the English countryside, the way your hand looks curled fast around an orchestral program;
And I will walk these streets, under the city’s rails and over the iron bridges that run like clockwork at every intersection, bridges built with no shortage of sureness, a hundred years before. And you will hasten your pace, in recognition of your back, cramping at a walk, yet inexplicably fine at faster pace. And you will slow down, on sight of something beautiful—a carved trestle, a young child, modern architecture, the light dissipating against a garbage truck in an alley at dusk. This is what it means to love a stranger, even for a minute. And love makes everything beautiful, even urban sanitation.