I miss the alleys in Chicago. Like boulevard sidewalks, they present a dimension of living space that we don’t occupy very often anymore, and certainly not where I live now. In an alley, there is plenty of room to drive or stroll, yet civilization lies just beyond the chain link and trash barrels. As you pass the backyards, you feel as though people have already invited you in, like you have made friends a little bit. Some people care a lot about how their backyards look, but other people don’t, and that’s fine. It is a backyard, after all.
For the most part, you don’t see a lot of large shade trees overhanging the alleys – they interfere with utility vehicles, and anyway, there are plenty of street trees for shade. In an alley, the daylight trades places from brick to asphalt to siding, setting the wrong things aglow, things that shouldn’t want your attention. In an alley, you can catch sight of the day spending the last of its magic without anyone else noticing, and still make it home in time to watch Jeopardy.
“I like the other Brenna. I don’t like this Brenna.”
This isn’t something Max or Cas said to me. I heard it from grown woman a few weeks ago. I thought we were friends, but apparently not. She was only friends with the other Brenna.