“I don’t want the world. I just want your half.”

Today I came across the word “frangipani” and was reminded of a dream I had a few years back.

I was wandering the greenbelts of my hometown as filtered through my subconscious, meaning that over the years they’ve swollen to an endless labyrinth completely divorced from real life, as tends to happen. I saw flowers begin to show up along the side of the path and stumbled out of a patch of woods into your average suburban cul-de-sac, where a man was standing by his house, staring holes through me.

He gestured to one of the flowers. “Tuberose.”

Then another. “Frangipani.”

Behind him, I saw his house rear up like some hungry beast. The second story was a greenhouse, and it was full to bursting with butterflies of every color, dancing and dashing themselves against the walls.

“Would you like to come upstairs and see?”

I said no.

And there’s no way back there.

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Behind doors

Spring has finally come to Chicago.

…All right, summer has come to Chicago. Spring was not a thing that happened this year. Still, the leaves are coming out and the flowers and trees are blooming, so I’m going to go ahead and call “close enough.”

This time of year always gets my thoughts racing and dumb adolescent emotions high. (One might call it spring fever, if one were so inclined.) Between that, a major upcoming change in my life, and the return of weather that doesn’t make me want to ugly-cry, I’ve been doing a lot of my old friend aimless wandering. I’m quickly realizing that while I’ve lived in my neighborhood for a year and a half, I’ve never noticed the sheer variety of houses and apartments here.

It seems like a strange thing to single out, sure, but this area’s an architectural hodgepodge in a fascinating way. Huge mock-Tudor complexes with manicured grounds sit next to boxy, glum ’80s relics. Stone cottages stand near small palaces with sweeping entry staircases and ornate bas relief decorations. Mid-century buildings that look more commercial than residential are just up the street from brick apartments with charming porticos. Every residence seems to tell its own story, both in its inherent design and the little details that surround it: the yard full of wheelbarrows and what looks like abstract sculpture, the porch post painted like a barber pole, the doll head on the sidewalk, the piled newspapers, the neglected swing between sidewalk and street, the laughter heard from halfway down the block, the woman pacing in the window.

This got a little creepy, maybe? I didn’t, like, watch the pacing woman; I just saw her. In general, I am of a demographic that people tend not to be threatened by, so I tend to get away with scrutinizing things others might not, but still.

I don’t want to pry. I just want a window (not necessarily literal) into lives I’ll never live, or likely come into. I think that’s a natural curiosity to have, especially for a writer, and it seems to have been helpful to me lately. Results pending.