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Camping Chicago Style

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He sat there for awhile after it started to rain. Watching large drops of water collect and drop slowly to the ground. When his clothes and hair were plastered to his skin he finally got out of the tent.

His Dad should have been here. They should have been singing campfire songs and roasting hot dogs on the barbecue over the fire his Dad taught him to build. Instead he was running through the streets to Finelli's. He knew where his Dad should have been just like he knew where his Dad really was.

When he finally got there he didn't even have to look around. From his position in the doorway he stared right into the profile of his father, leaning on a pool cue and smoking a cigar. The jukebox was playing something by Sinatra and his Dad was laughing.

In his mind, Ray saw his father grinning at him as the fire finally took, and it roared up around the pyramid of wood. He heard them singing "On Top of Old Smokey" and laughing as they ate their hot dogs, on a stick with no bun, like you do when you're camping.

Ray didn't see his Dad shoot the yellow two into the side pocket with the cigar clenched in his teeth. He didn't see the streets as he walked home or hear his Mom call after him as he walked in his house and up the stairs to his room.

Climbing into his bed, still wet from the rain, he started at the ceiling until he fell asleep and dreamed of large green trees and mountains that you could get lost in.