"Use that sunroof as much as you can," he said, glancing skyward as the car silently shifted gears up the hill of the frontage road ahead. "Once we get near the city, you won't have a view like this." It was just after 9:30 the night of the summer soldtice — Barnaby Bright, the longest day and shortest night — and the sky had barely darkened, but kernels of bright white stars were bursting in the sky one by one. By the time we hit Route 80, wisps of cobalt cotton-candy clouds shrouded our view of that astral popcorn, but even with a partial view, I knew he was right: Only thoughts of stars appear in the Chicago sky.
He took a deep breath as we made our way to the highway, making a memory of the day through wine-worn nostrils. Taking in humidity and tall grass, livestock and distant smokestacks. "That smell reminds me of my first car, of my childhood...it doesn't always smell like shit."