We had been to the Harold Washington Library before, but you were too young remember. So when we walked in from the State Street entrance, you looked around and your eyes trained up, especially when we walked into the round atrium that, as a space, feeds the soul.
We went to the children’s library, to get books and to read. You pointed out the security, the police, like you always do, and the matronly officer who I wanted to call auntie spoke with a smile that you exchanged for one brighter than her own large grin. You walked around pulling titles, saying “This one” and “That one, daddy.” We sat on a multi-colored bench, the one like the old benches that you used to be in parks on the south side when I was a boy, before the city built shelters on corners, when churches like our family’s bought advertisements to tell people waiting on 95th or 87th or Halsted to come and worship.
After we read our first book, we went downstairs and thumbed through the four books we checked out because we would really read them later. You were excellent in quieting down and listening to three authors read excerpts from their fiction, listening and only occasionally murmuring, as if each of them was pulling you next to them, lowering their voices, and, for a few minutes, reading to you.