Same Walk–Different Stages
Today, I hadn’t had a chance to walk yet, so I headed up to meet my husband as his train arrived from downtown Chicago. I thought about all the times we had walked home together from the train station over the last twenty-five years and enjoyed reminiscing . . .
Once upon a time, when I worked in Chicago’s Loop, I rather enjoyed riding the commuter train into the city from the suburbs. I liked the hustle and bustle, the mindless cattle-like line-forming, and the silent competition (by those of us who cared) to get the best seat or to get off the train first.
Many mornings, my husband and I walked up to the station and rode the train together, even though we got off at different stops once downtown. Occasionally, if we were early enough, we’d stop and get coffee and a donut for the ride in. We didn’t subscribe to a newspaper at the time, because we didn’t want to spend the money. We soon noticed though that many people would read their morning copies of the Wall Street Journal or the Chicago Tribune and then just leave them on the train. We would each scoop up the least wrinkled copies on our way out the door and read it at lunch or even save it for the ride home. (Reading old news seems strange in today’s shortened news cycle!)
Our schedules usually didn’t coincide well in the evenings, so we didn’t ride home together as often. When we did, it was often on a Friday, and sometimes we’d stop at the bar and pick up a happy hour cocktail and a gourmet popcorn to share on the ride home.
Whether we rode together or not, because of the short walk for each of us at both ends of the commute, it made for a really nice way to get to work and back home every day.
Once we had children (and I was lucky enough to stay home with them), I would often load the kids up in a stroller, walk up to the train station, meet my husband at the train, and we’d walk home together. At first it was a single stroller, then a double, and later it would be bikes and scooters. The kids liked watching Dad’s head come up the stairs among all the other commuters’ heads as we sat on a bench across the street.
Once my older children were in high school, I would walk up alone to the train station, and the two of us would walk home together. It would give us a few minutes to discuss things without many pairs of prying ears. I’m not sure my husband enjoyed these walks so much, because I noticed that he started asking, “What’s wrong?” or “What did they do now?” as soon as I showed up. On these nights, he probably would have enjoyed a quiet walk home alone after a long day at work, but there were things to be discussed, and he put on a brave face.
Today, because I had texted him earlier in the day about a big local news story that I knew he’d be interested in, he jumped right into conversation about it as soon as we were close enough to hear each other. He didn’t even say hello. He didn’t need to, of course; he knew why I was there.
Good day, good walk!