Henry was disappointed that Lake Michigan smelled of dead fish. How sickening the place from which he came actually was: there existed no "culture" on this stinky lake, he thought. It's just dead fish and driftwood. Along Atwater beach there wasn't a thing of beauty. An old burned-out concession stand and weathered breaker wall remained, a decrepit pier pretended to look out on the horizon. Yet present all along was a hidden tradition, one he'd long for in later years. A distinct subtlety only visible from the outside looking in. His city by the lake, the same lake, he imagined, mentioned by the Smashing Pumpkins in their immortal double issue. How still and timeless those minutes seemed now, sitting on Atwater beach, the labor of which consisted of hundreds of steps, and was particularly gruesome upon the trek home. What price could be proffered, Henry wondered, to simply return to Atwater, to contemplate the future of things, rather than the mistakes of the past.
(to be continued)