One of the stranger parts of Chicago is its collection of maybe-fancy, mostly-boring indoor half-malls dotting the Magnificent Mile. They lack the tacky fun of a full-blown suburban mall, but they put on airs of being something “more.” Most days I take my lunch at one such non-mall malls. There’s a bland sandwich joint sidled up next to a casual Italian place (but we are NOT calling this a food court). Today I found as secluded a spot as I could, and ordered my usual subpar sandwich (we’ll call it a Milquetoast Melt).
Halfway through my bread-slop I was pulled from my stupor by a familiar plaintive tune from Lady Soul, herself. Coming from the neighboring restaurant, it was Aretha’s “Until You Come Back to Me,” cutting through the murky din of Adult Contemporary filling the sandwich joint. Out of nowhere I got that hot, stinging notion behind my nose—you know, the pre-feeling of pre-crying? Consciously, I was very aware of my surroundings, totally nonplussed, munching on that much-maligned sammie. But obviously right below the surface, unknown to I guess even myself, I was moments from a full-blown Moment. Even at half-power, even from a murky distance, some songs just cut the messy inner workings of me.
Having a Moment in the sandwich shop. Thanks, Aretha.