Saturday, December 27, 2014

The March: Epilogue

Chapter 63

It is too sad, too mean to leave these young people without telling you a bit about how their lives turned out.  An epilogue. Yes. That's just the thing.

Gio and Celia
They were each other’s first loves.  But not each other’s last. They married other people, had children, and are happy.  Gio has a successful career in IT management.  Celia is a buyer for Macy’s.  When they look back on their relationship (which they do less and less, but still, sometimes), they remember each other fondly and give their distant love affair the dignity of acknowledging its seriousness.  When it became a thing, Celia found Gio on Facebook.  They comment admiringly on pictures of each other’s children and are happy to see the other happy.

If it seems sad they didn’t end up together, it’s not.  How many of us have shared our whole lives with our first love?  Or even our second? Third? But we can all consider ourselves lucky if our first love gave us a good romance and prepared us well for the one that lasts.  Gio and Celia are.

Fred and Mary
By then end of 1992, Fred had taken over the day-to-day operations of the Lightweight Group.  He was, as Caleb always said, a natural.  The business runs smoothly, uneventfully and ethically.  The Lightweight Group is one of the few restaurant groups in the city to offer health insurance to its waitstaff and it’s carried on with Brooke’s environmental initiatives.  The L.G.E. bars were green long before it was hip to be so. 

Mary is in the Justice department, just as she’d always wanted.  She’s been involved with several high-profile investigations and has happily become, as she calls it, the fucking bane of the Chicago political fucking machine.

She and Fred are very happy together.

Rosie did indeed take a bite out of the Big Apple.  She was the main DJ at New York’s Lobo for a few years and then enjoyed a brief on camera stint on MTV.  She was a New York trendsetter through most of the 90s, eventually landing a gig at a hot New York Magazine right around 2000.  Although these days, she’s a bit long in the tooth for setting the trends in the clubs, she stays on top of what they are, and covers them with a keen eye and a sharp tongue.  She always knows what bands are about to break, and exactly what kind of clothes the people that dance to them wear.  She’s invited to all the best parties.  

At some point her fearlessness façade gave way to the real thing.

Also, around 30, she stopped starving herself and put on 25 pounds.

She looks great.

Tré ended up, in all places, as a marketing director for a software company.  He bounced around from bar to bar and club to club trying to make a go of a career in the nightlife forefront before being recruited into the fledgling industry of start up software.  You’ll be glad to know that Tré was far too prudent to have taken much of a hit during the bust.

He married a little later in life.  Tré was 40 when he met a nice woman with whom he had a lot of fun. They had a couple of kids together.  They pay cash for everything. 

Tré subscribes to Rosie’s magazine and always gets a big kick out of reading the things she writes.

He and Brooke remain fast friends.  When she married Will, he stood up on her side, right next to her maid of honor, Celia.

Brooke and Will
Brooke does good and important work at an environmental not-for-profit. Will works as a community organizer and as a professor of political science.

They are living happily ever after. 

They have drinks at The March on every anniversary.

After it became public knowledge that she and Will were a couple the L.G.E. staff and regulars had a bit of a gossip field day.  A sustained field day.  As a matter of fact, if you were to pop into The March or Scottie’s for a drink tomorrow night, an old timer might grin knowingly or leer lasciviously at the memory of the girl who was schtupping the uncle and the nephew at the same time.  You know the one – she ended up with the guy who had the money.  They might smirk around theories as to the role that black guy played.  You know the one – he had something to do with the old owner who stole money from the nephew’s mom.

But you and I know the real story: Brooke had planned to save the world.  But she learned that the world was too big for one girl to save.  Instead, she nurtured her own generous spirit, she made friends, she fell in love and she embraced the value of kindness.  The effects of which, as I once read, are incalculably diffusive.

At the end, I offer one last authorial interruption with two fond hopes for you, my reader. 

The first: May you remember that of all the things we have to be grateful for in this sweet old world, our largest debt of gratitude may lie with a person whose name we don’t knew, who’ll never show up in a history book, whose obituary will be listed alphabetically, without an accompanying picture. Our largest debt of gratitude may lie with some kind stranger who lifted the burden of someone else and left our world a gentler and better place.

The second: Neighborhood taverns are not as easy to find on the streets of Chicago as they were 20 years ago.  But wherever you live, however you live, I hope you find your March.  It is, despite all the petty gossip and distant nicotine stains, a wonderful place to be.