Night Lights

Many think Chicago’s best view is of downtown where the “lights shine the brightest.” However many don't know where the real Chicago is. . . . our own neighborhood

The moon was out and was shining at us, but our day wasn’t over. All six neighbors came to my backyard to plan our next mischievous act. I was only nine sitting next to my best friend eating our lemon and gum palettas. Natalie and Evette were talking about their middle school stories as usual and Cruz was playing soccer with my brother on the dirty green grass. The night was almost ending and nothing came to our heads. Then, a few minutes later...

“Let’s play cops and robbers,” said my brother.

It was the perfect plan. It was our game we came up with when we were little. We snuck out the front door past our parents eating elotes and talking about each other’s lives, ranting about something neither me or my friends understood.

We all paired up. When the guys starting counting down 10, 9, 8, 7 . . . Natalie and I ran like our life depended on it. 6, 5, 4 . . . We flew through the gates, sprang across the imperfect sidewalks, and jumped over the many fallen branches. 3, 2, 1 . . . We were far away from them.

It was 10:30 p.m. We looked back and saw the twenty different patterned houses we ran through. Some were boring brown, some were blue, some were broken down, some looked infamous. It was an absolute success. We ended by the corner store. My chest was finally out of breath and we decided to go inside to buy a few snacks. By our luck, Rosario decided to give us everything free. Everybody knew us here. We were the “twins” as they would say.

Five minutes later we were sitting at the sidewalk outside the corner store. We looked up and directly in front of us was the Chicago skyline with irrational building heights. We could see the whole downtown in a smaller version. We questioned how our city could be this beautiful. The lights combined on the buildings reflected brighter on us . . . We were complete champions, even if our knees were scraped, even if our hair looked like lion’s manes, even if our mouths were full of thirst. Every “if” didn't matter. We were completely free.

The hot air brushing up my arm gave me a reposing sensation. The calmness of the night made me feel secure. Everything felt perfect at the moment. This was my city where I grew up, where I was able to live my childhood. It was my night light where I always felt glory.

From the 826CHI Student Publication: A Flower Blooming in the Dark

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