Updated: Jan 13
Deborah, a friend (and former co-worker at a savings and loan who I briefly dated in real life in the mid 1980s in Los Angeles) who I hadn’t seen in a long time called to tell me she had recently moved to Chicago with her boyfriend and had picked up the keys to their new apartment that morning. During our conversation she confessed to having ulterior motives for calling me and insisted we meet. Our reunion took place at a café near Wrigley Field and we drank coffee while standing outside in the cold as the establishment was closed to patrons due to the COVID-19 lockdown. She told me that her aunt and uncle were arriving from Los Angeles that afternoon and asked me if I would pretend to be her boyfriend because she didn’t want anyone in her family to know she was dating, nonetheless now living with, someone they disapproved of. I reluctantly agreed and she asked me if we could go to her new apartment so I could help her clean up as she remembered how good I was at house cleaning. We arrived at her apartment and I was appalled at its state of untidiness and disrepair and even more shocked to see that her boyfriend was my old childhood friend Todd, who sat a messy table that had a computer on it surrounded by stacks of papers, old tattered magazines and a single decrepit plant in a rectangular cream-colored planter I later moved to the center of the table for a more appealing decorative effect. My friend brought out a box telling me it was a new Dyson vacuum cleaner and remembering how much I loved vacuuming suggested I begin with that task. I quickly assembled the Dyson and began tidying up my friend’s apartment while she and her boyfriend first looked on then, once they saw me cleaning, joined in the work. Later, my friend and I went to meet her aunt and uncle, which turned out to be my (real life) aunt Phyllis and uncle Art. She was telling them she had just moved into her new apartment with me and she’d love it if they would come over to see it. Her uncle, originally from Chicago, asked where it was and what the address was. Having just moved in, my friend hesitated and couldn’t remember the address so I suggested she look on the key ring she had gotten from the real estate agent that was sure to have the address on it.
Low and behold, the key had a small white round tag with the address which read: 4645 W. Clark. My uncle made a confused-looking face as he thought it was odd seeing how he remembered Clark being a north-south street. We arrived back at my friend’s apartment which was now immaculately cleaned and well furnished. She introduced her real boyfriend as a friend of mine who came over to help us finish moving and clean the house. She then wanted her aunt and uncle to see her dog (though I didn't remember seeing a dog upon my earlier visit to the apartment), but it was nowhere to be found so we all went searching the apartment for it. I walked into one of the bedrooms and found the dog sleeping on the bed. Then I woke up. [PHOTO: Screenshot of the actual 4645 N. Clark St. in Chicago from Google Maps].