French Market -  Chicago by Audrey Lisquitt
French Market – Chicago by Audrey Lisquitt

Here we were at last: the three of us, seated at a table in front of the French Market as the sun’s first rays peeked over the horizon. My nose quivered with delight at the ristretto I clutched in my hands, and I snuck glances at a smiling Yolanda as she sipped hers. Steely Eyes had opted for fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Steely Eyes… I should stop calling him that. A bit of respect! He had his own identity and his own story, which he shared with his new friends.

True name: Tim Mac Cornick. Of Irish descent. Forty years old. A bourbon heir and Alcoholics Anonymous member. He had completed the first step: admitting that he could not control his alcoholism. His motto: If the first step is working, stick with it. Style of dress: a $5,000 three-piece suit every day with a cigar in the jacket pocket. Usual demeanor: quiet. Speak only when necessary. He seems to weigh his words. Not the kind of man you would invite to a party to liven up the ambience or entertain your great aunt. Distinctive marks: scars on his left check. Intriguing. My assessment: a man with secrets.

To his right sat Yolanda Carpeti. Of Sicilian descent. Fifty-two years old. Moved to Chicago when she became an adult at her grandmother’s deathbed request. A request shrouded in mystery. Her motto: To each his truth. Style of dress: black dress, wedge heels, scarf around her shoulders, purse perched in the crook of her elbow. Usual demeanor: a real Italian mama in every sense. Distinctive marks: an uncanny resemblance to Teresina Capone, Al Capone’s mother. Go figure. My assessment: She has her secrets too.

And me. Seventh-generation French, at least. Thirty years old. A brand-new expat living in Chicago. Engaged. Nothing to report. My motto: No regrets. Style of dress: totally French! Usual demeanor: extroverted introvert. An ambiguous personality endowed with enormous empathy. One minute I want to be surrounded by people, the next I want to hide myself away. Distinctive marks: none. I think. My assessment: no comment.

To be continued…

Translated from french by Kenneth Barger 🙂