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American Road Trip, 1998


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1998-08-02 - 23:08:52

Chicagoland

American Road Trip: Chicagoland

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL. ó Finally got a hold of Michelle on the phone ó she squealed with excitement at seeing me, and I felt the same way. I arrived just after 4 p.m. and got the nicest, tightest hug Iíve had in a long time. Met her fabulous family and got the best meal of the trip so far ó steak, corn, potato, bread, shrimp, then strawberry shortcake, ice cream, whipped cream. Mmmmmmm. After dinner (before dessert), Michelle and I rollerbladed around Arlington Lake, talking most of the time about Patrick ó it always seems to be me who gets to talk to the wonderful, pretty ones about their boyfriends. Unlike Heather, Michelleís not in as perfect a relationship. Anyway ... Then we rented Field of Dreams ó great to see, the day after the visit ó and retired to bed. Separately, of course.

Long, tight friendship hug
Provides a pleasant welcome ó
So good to see you.

MONDAY, AUGUST 3, ARLINGTON HEIGHTS ó Another one of those days when I got to sleep in ó I love it. It gives the trip a nice travel/vacation and leisure visit balance. When I got up, I caught up with the e-mail and finished as Michelle returned form work. We sat on the floor in the hall and talked, then showered and went to the bank.

Lunch at Magglioís ó a wonderful, nice Italian place that played a lot of Sinatra and would not have let us in in shorts and t-shirts if it were not 3 p.m. We talked more and I paid. Next stop was the mall, where we were able to browse and talk. I did buy a wonderful aerial photo of a 1995 ND game that shows campus well. With Rob Finch over the next day, we determined it was the Vanderbilt game, for which I held Bob Davieís markerboard as he filled in for Lou Holtz; therefore, I was on the field there with the team in that picture. We also checked out some knowledge store in which we couldíve spent a lot of money. I must pick up Undaunted Courage, about Lewis and Clark.

From the mall it was on to the pool, where Michelle supervised the guards and I watched it all. We had an opportunity there to talk some more. When everyone had left, we stayed to swim and slide and soak in the hot tub. It was wonderful ó swimming and chatting and enjoying the company and the privacy. Just as I had hoped (because Iíd thought itíd be nice if we could stay). And at one point during the working hours, after sheíd gotten up to tend to one responsibility or another, Michelle returned to tell another story, standing behind me with her hands on my shoulders, then clasping them around my neck in front of me. Sheís great. The radio played Savage Garden, and she said she liked the song. I donít. Or, at least I didnít, until she said that. I immediately pictured her in a fabulous dress at some Notre Dame dance or another, arms around someone ó I wish it were me ó dancing to that song. It was easy to see, and now I like the song more. Michelle too.

In the dark black Chicago night suburb of Rolling Meadows, really, we swam beneath the landing patterns of OíHare. Just the two of us in the immense pool expanse of cool August night with a slide and hot tub all to outselves. And I felt so comfortable there that night with Michelle whom I only knew in a certain context before this stop on the trip ó I knew her only at The Observer, and other meetings but not like this ó one on one, and at her home, no less. And we got along so well and I feel Iím in love with her. Iím not sure what it is about her ó thatís how I know. I do know we have the same passions, and many of the same interests, and we get along so well ó all a great start.

I heard on the radio today that on average, one person falls in love six times in a lifetime. I had one with Heather (L.), and Iím pretty sure Heather C. counts too. Michelle seems likely, making it three for me in about five years. I guess Iím bunching them together. Iím feeling the pain of separation from them after leaving them following great visits. Thatís how I know. Theyíre the only three women Iíve ever gotten emotional over. Heather's in a strong relationship, and my love for her is that of a strong friendship. Michelle and Patrick arenít so tight ó as I see it, and have heard ó that I almost feel I could say something ... But I doubt I will, unless, maybe, I do end up in, or near South Bend soon. I wonder if I told her I loved her ó without asking anything ó if itíd mean anything to her.

I tried to reach Tim again at the Tribune, and of course, he didnít call me back. Iíll try David first thing in the morning. Talked to Debbie and Iíll be there tomorrow ó back in South Bend. Man, thatíll be different Iím sure.

Patrons have gone home
But we stay for a night swim
A perfect night, too

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