Updated: Jan 13
I was married to my ex-wife who called me from our apartment which was in the second floor of the three-flat where my grandparents and great-grandfather lived on Maplewood when I was a child.
She asked me if I could come home from work early to help her finish painting the baby’s room.
However, when she called, I was already on my way home and riding the Peterson Avenue bus, just a few stops away from home.
I got home and quietly opened the downstairs door and tiptoed up the stairs trying not to make any noise so my early arrival would be a surprise.
Just as I arrived at our door I heard noises coming from inside our apartment that sounded like two lovers in the heat of passion.
I walked up to the third floor and placed my ear on the door of my grandparent’s old apartment to see if perhaps the noises were coming from there, but there was silence behind the door.
I walked back down to second floor and quietly put my key in the door and noticed it was double-locked, which peaked my suspicions even more thinking there’d be no need to double lock the front door if she was home.
To my surprise, not only was she not home, she had seemingly left in a hurry and forgot to turn the TV off, which was broadcasting a daytime soap opera with a steamy scene.
Seeing how she wasn’t home, I decided to go back downstairs and wait for her in front of the apartment building.
When I got downstairs I tried calling her but she didn’t answer.
Just then, my phone rang and assuming it was her I answered with a quirky, nonchalant greeting.
However, I was surprised to hear an unfamiliar man’s voice at the other end of the phone asking me if my wife had just been to the supermarket that was adjacent to our house. While he was talking to me, I thought I heard his voice nearby and low and behold it was the young man talking to me from the payphone outside of the supermarket just feet away.
I told him to turn around and I started waving at him until he finally noticed me standing there.
He told me my wife had just made a purchase and forgot her bank card at the checkout counter, so I thanked him, told him I'd be right over and hung up.
I then called my wife back and this time she answered, asking me where I was and I told her I was waiting for her outside the house and they had just called from the supermarket where she had forgotten her bank card.
Reminding her it was the second time it had happened, she laughed and said she had a lot on her mind.
Then I woke up.
[PHOTO: The apartment building where I lived until I was seven years-old at 5912 N. Maplewood in Chicago.]