Obama’s Home, Hyde Park, Chicago
October 19, 2016
The thick green branched trees that break any view of the side and most of the front facades of the three-story house. I sit across the street to draw on the steps of the synagogue. Black and brown elementary school boys overlook me as I work.
“I like your drawing. What is it?”
He seems to understand when I talk about using the pens like drumsticks that listen and respond to the shifts in the wind and the sounds of their voices. I demonstrate by making a few marks on the new piece of blank paper.
“Do you ever see the President in his house.”
“No. He is never there.”
“Will you miss him when he is no longer President?”
“Yes. Yes, I will.”
When the boys call out to each other I hear the names, Israel, Zacharia, Thomas. I imagine the President would love these sounds, as I do.
I cannot see through the house’s stone façade. I imagine Chicago in the winter dark. Before he was President I imagine Michelle in the stairway from the entrance up to the second floor. The daughters are already asleep. He has come from a long day of campaigning for election of a local office. She is dressed in black outfit with a fresh red rose in her hair; the stem cleaves through her part. She is waiting to lean over to meet him from the second stair. In that brief space – that embrace, that greeting – the weight of political and public life drops from their shoulders. Rising up the stairs I can imagine them both sigh deeply back into the short deliciousness of a private life.