Where the pale sea foamed, dogs barked and children played. I don't get out much, these days, and my heart loosened to see familiar sights. The man selling ice cream, talking to the young men sitting on and around their bench they claimed day after day. Pre-adolescent boys dug in the sands, seeking treasure, or garbage, or just wasting time in the way that children seem to know how to do so well. College girls ran by, doing their best to improve their already appealing forms, also knowing they ran to show off such forms. The viejos, old neighborhood men sat on their bench (claimed much the same way as the young boys), laughing and talking and enjoying the morning. There, a soccer game played with trash cans for goals, the smallest boy sitting to one side with the radio.

His eyes followed the ball, watched the older boys participate in the ritual that was being performed the world over, at that moment, in times long gone, and times to come. You could see in his eyes the sparkle of ambition, the hope of being accepted; and yes, a hint of sadness, knowing that today was not the day. He fiddled with the radio a bit more, then stood to give his legs a good stretch before again sitting to watch the older boys.

You always asked me what my first home was like, about the apartment and my roommates and the TV. You liked hearing about the coffee shop I went to when Saturdays had run their course and my pen was restless, underneath the broken old neon sign that used to say "Jesus Saves". You asked about the little bookstore beside the Kung Fu academy where I attended classes for a few months, before again leaving for new places and faces. You wanted to hear all about the trains where I spent so much time going to and fro, to and fro. You loved the stories about the con man at the train station, and the little Chinese woman and her restaurant where I went for dinner even though it was a bit expensive but not for talking to that woman. She had wonderful stories of when she was young, of traveling, and about everything.

You never asked about the beach, probably because I never mentioned it much. But of all my memories of Chicago, it was my happiest. I know you don't really care much right now, but when you left, all I could think about was how the beach would look this time of year. The leaves would be falling, and most people would be too busy to be out during the afternoons. That's why I came back to the city, to a life that had never known you and to habits you had never known. In time, I'll have new stories to tell. But for now, I'll sit on the beach, and think about the beautiful things that are not meant to last.

Nodeshell challenge successfully defeated, for Byzantine

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