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Was I There Before I Was Here?

For those of you who didn’t know it, MTM once lived in a little town called Chicago, Illinois. For six years, he ran his own architecture practice. He competed in worldwide architecture competitions, resulting in skyscrapers in Korea that he’s never seen. He was even a finalist in the Oklahoma City Memorial Competition and ended up on CNN.

Last weekend, he took me past a visible remnant of himself by showing me something he designed. On the front of a building in downtown Chicago, an entryway blared out MTM’s signature sensibilities, his clean lines and minimalist style. It was a piece of him that I could reach out and touch, from a time when I didn’t know him.

As we shivered our way around the city, I would catch our reflection, walking side-by-side in a random window glass. And, I wondered: did he ever walk this way and glimpse me? The two of us, together? When he ate fish and chips at his favorite pub, did a girl turn her head and conjure my image in her wake? Give him some clue of who he was seeking before he found me? Before he said hello?

I’ve studied photos of MTM from that time, scanning his younger face for the certainty of me. My favorite one of him from that era wasn’t taken in Chicago, though. It was shot in Japan. He is sitting alone in front of a glassy pond, broken by circular stepping stones, cherry blossoms dropping around him like pink-and-white confetti.

Somehow, I know I was there, too.

I just know it.

Too Much is Just Enough: Seeing the signs and knowing they are true.

25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lou Mello #

    Life is serendipity and yours has indeed been fortunate with MTM entering it. Go ahead and have fun with fantasizing about life that was pre-MTM and imagine yourself in it…doesn’t hurt a thing and if it makes you happy, then so be it.

    March 29, 2011
    • It is always interesting to return to places MTM was before he met me. I don’t know why I wonder about who he was then as much as I do. I mean, I know he was the same, on his way to being who he was when I met him. But still.

      March 29, 2011
  2. Very nice ponderings. I don’t know if you were there, but I know he was looking for you. It just took a while. You know how he tends to take a while shopping…

    BTW, would love to see the picture of MTM in Japan and of the front of his building in Chicago. We need to see the MTM portfolio.

    March 29, 2011
  3. A Guess #

    Love this post. It is funny what you think about when your mate shows you glimpses of the life before you were together. I like the idea of someone else leaving an image of you in their wake…
    As an architect I also appreciate the concept of early work revealing something of the designer, even years afterward.

    March 29, 2011
    • I’ve been using the word “wake” too much of late. My book writing is bleeding over into my blog writing……

      What was particularly funny about the building (it was a collaboration where MTM was brought in but did not design the whole)…..there were these iron balconies off some of the windows, and I said, “You did NOT pick those curlicue things.”

      I was correct.

      March 29, 2011
  4. Yay! I love this, can picture it all you describe it so beautifully!

    March 29, 2011
    • Thank you, Georgie. Trying to evoke good imagery is something I still struggle with as a writer. It is good to know when it connects.

      March 29, 2011
  5. mtm #

    Tune in tomorrow for my guerilla guest post…What was MTM doing on May 22, 1997 in Chicago? And why is it relevant to today’s post?….

    March 29, 2011
    • Oh, Lord. I have to wait until TOMORROW?????? After you teased me with this already at coffee this morning??????

      March 29, 2011
      • mtm #

        I could spill it here and now,,,but then you’ll be writing a post tonight at midnight, instead of doing somethng else….um, sleeping, I mean!

        March 29, 2011
      • Heh. 😉

        March 29, 2011
      • Lou Mello #

        He was celebrating mine and the lovely Miss Teresa’s 10th wedding anniversary. We had him design a lovely cake for us.

        March 29, 2011
      • Only MTM doesn’t ‘do’ baking, Lou.

        March 29, 2011
      • Perverts!!

        March 29, 2011
      • Heh…….;)

        March 29, 2011
  6. I love to retrace the events that led to Shawn and me crossing paths. I think we met right on time.

    March 29, 2011
    • We always meet right on time, even though I was awfully impatient in the lead up myself. 🙂

      March 29, 2011

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Once in a Blue Moon, Revisited (a guest post by MTM) « The Accidental Cootchie Mama

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