We gathered by the entrance but it was clear nobody was going back to work. A loudspeaker behind us announced that normal buses and trains had been shut down, and that cellular communication in the downtown Chicago area was going to be cut off in ten minutes for security reasons. We were to go home immediately. There would be buses leaving from the southern end of Millennium Park for suburban commuters.
I glanced down at my phone. No new messages. J had my address. So I waited.
The buildings began hemorraging young professionals, frantically making last-minute phone calls, taking photographs, streaming videos, desperate to post before the Internet was taken away. I saw Graham making his way south toward the buses. A man walked by me, insisting that the final numbers be sent to him at his place of residence like fucking immediately. “Find me a bike messenger then,” he said, curving his lips.
And there was J, standing on the other side of Michigan Ave.
She looked different. Her hair used to be the same sandy blonde as mine, carelessly flipped behind her shoulders. It was short now and she’d colored it black. It was shiny. That was new.
She shifted her posture when she finally saw me. The police had blocked the street completely so we both nodded north, wordlessly deciding to walk in parallel until one of us could cross over. It was a slow process, moving at the speed of the crowd. There was relief everytime I passed a bar and a dozen people swerved to the left. I’d never needed whiskey so badly my life.
Every once in a while I would glance across the street and saw that she was doing the same thing, looking over at me. Twins always have their things.
And then we reached the river. We waited for the signal and she began to walk. I stood my ground, lifted my phone, and navigated to my voicemails. I can’t believe I’d deleted the evidence. That couldn’t have been her.
J stopped in front of me. “Let’s keep walking.”
“Well. Hello,” I said. “What in the fuck is going on.”
“I said, let’s keep walking.” She glanced south and then to the sky. “There are cameras all over the place.”
“I’m really not supposed to be here,” she said, turning toward the bridge.
We crossed the river and she pulled out a pack of cigarettes. This was also new. I cupped a hand over her lighter and without asking, she lit two.
She handed me one and kept walking.