#461: The Elopement of Lucy Bruise

April 8th, 2015

She was Lucy Bruise, Rat Face Ratticus. Her hair’s been long and platinum, mohawked and spiky, completely shaved or finally a growing-out undyed. Her body is a canvas of tattoos, from elaborate Baba Yagas to stick-n-poke mallets advertising the Punk Rock Croquet Club of which we’re both founding members.

“Sup dood,” the email read. “I hope you’re doing well.”

Everyone has those friends, the ones you don’t see nearly often enough. The ones who used to be a constant fixture in your life, but a slight tweak of situation — a move a few miles south, a job that gets you too busy, coursework that takes her away — means you look at a calendar and realize it’s been months.

I hadn’t seen her since New Year’s Eve, when a few folks went to Chinatown for hot pot before heading to a party I decided to skip. Before that, we had gotten lunch in November or December. Before that, it might have been her birthday party at the Galloping Ghost arcade in July.

The world turns, the clock hands spin, the sand goes through the hourglass — pick your metaphor.

I’ve written about this friend before. She and her boyfriend Eddie snuck me into a speakeasy arcade in Logan Square once.

We had long conversations about death in an abandoned Humboldt Park warehouse where she worked.

I bashed her head in with a croquet mallet as part of a no-budget horror movie that same Eddie made back when they were just friends who couldn’t take their eyes off each other.

Our gang played drunken croquet in Humboldt Park every Sunday night for four beautiful summers. She was my companion in endless misadventures of bikes and booze and picnics and long talks about any topic.

But she and Eddie moved south. My personal life got turbulent. I pulled in from life. She pulled away from social media. Neither of us has a car.

So I wasn’t surprised when news filtered to me that Krystle and Eddie eloped.

The “Sup dood” email was Krystle reaching out to say we should get together. She had spoken to a mutual friend and was feeling nostalgic. Mortuary school graduation is approaching, so she’ll have more time to see “the old gang,” as she put it.

A few days later, that same mutual friend got permission to spill the beans on Facebook. Eddie and Krystle had eloped on Valentine’s Day. My friend, my Lucy, ran off with the man she loves. They started a life when everyone’s back was turned.

It’s perfect that they eloped. It’s them.

There are plans afoot for a summertime barbecue to celebrate both graduation and marriage, some “wedding croquet and cake fight,” as that same mutual friend put it.

I’ll be there. I’ll congratulate them and hug Krystle so hard her ribs crack. “The old gang” will laugh and reminisce over stories that get more exaggerated and meaty with each retelling.

And whatever happens next in our lives is whatever happens next. I want new beginnings for the old gang. And, this time, I don’t want to miss a thing.

Comment on this story

A 6 year old wearing a Skittles hat

What's this?

You are currently reading #461: The Elopement of Lucy Bruise by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • Get Stories by Email

  • Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

    Join the email list for tour dates and info.