The Black Pier

Do you remember the night we went to Navy Pier?

 

It was midnight and nobody was there.

 

The city was behind us, and all of its complicated things…

The buildings crammed together…

The white windows…

The sound of police cars and ambulances…

The darkness shrouded trees illuminated by the full moon…growing in the center of once packed boulevards…

 

It was all behind us. We stood on the end of the pier, the dark wet wooden boards under our feet. The chipped white railing was smooth in my palm, especially the areas where the paint had fallen away to reveal sea-washed steel. The Ferris wheel behind us was not rotating, but it cast its warm-colored light over our backs like a thin sheet. All you could hear was the slapping of the inky black waves before us and the indistinct roar of the skyline behind us.

 

Nobody was there.

 

I stared out into the the dark void of Lake Michigan and saw nought but darkness and the solitary red beam of the too distant lighthouse.  The wind blew across the lake, delivering a cool, refreshing breeze, as though a strange voice was trying to whisper to us. The red lighthouse was a one-eyed beast guarding the solidly black expanse before us. As the wind stuck my clothing to my skin and the foamy black water slapped the rocks below, I gazed out at the invisible horizon that expanded far in front of me. It was a cool, comfortable night, and the white streetlamp parts of the pier that I wasn’t on. Everything I knew floated away from me.

 

Don’t you remember?

 

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