Photo by Justin Wolff
It must have been around the middle to latter half of the 1980s. At a little after 2 a.m., a knock at the side door woke me, and I found out it was Tony B.
The bars close at 2, and now Tony says he is really tired and that he can still work in the morning but just wants to sleep. I reluctantly let him in. He found a spot on a roll of padding. I on the other hand was awake, and the only thing open was a White Castle. I told him I was going to get a couple of hamburgers and asked him if he wanted a bite to eat, but he said no, I’m ok.
As I was about to go out the side door, I bowed my head, asking for some kind of sign. I forgot about it, and opened the door. It was the second year of a drought, and I looked up att he clouds filling the entire sky and wondered, ‘Will it train?’ I stepped down to a concrete landing and closed the door behind me. After another step down to open the gate at sidewalk level, I looked up and wondered again, ‘Will it rain?’ I had no idea.
Just as I closed the gate on the sidestreet sidewalk, what appeared to be a headlight beam on the other side of the clouds from the west headed toward my direction. At first I thought it must be a low-flying plane from Midway Airport, about 5 miles away. Even perhaps a helicopter, but there was no sound. But as I stepped down on the street to cross, I noticed that an opening appeared at 11 o’clock from my position.
My first thought was that I could now see where that light was coming from. So, already in the middle of the street, I moved about a car length to the left, to stare through.
It was the moon. But at least I could see the dark sky and the stars. The city lights could not obstruct the view. After perhaps a few moments of appreciation, I realized I was standing in the middle of the empty street.
Just as I had turned again to step up on the curb, a very bright light filled the street at Archer Avenue and Elias Court. Instinctively I turned to look at the opening, but now as if it had been abruptly edited, it was a perfectly shaped translucent silvery white cross. From my view, the cross appeared just above and behind the four-story apartment building on Elias.
I stood and asked myself, ‘Am I seeing this?’ I had seen a lot of crosses in my life by that time, and none could compete. A fluorescent fixture hanging there, very large
I am still doubting but realize I am seeing it. Superlatives flew through my my mind–“commanding” and so on–and again, after what might have been 20 seconds or maybe half a minute, it was still in the middle of the street. I continued to stare. As if it were coming from behind, another beam, thinner and less bright, seemed to be about to pass through the cross. For some reason, perhaps still struck by awe, I became frightened that that light was about to shine on me as a sort of spectacle.
I quickly hurried to the front of the apartment building and decided to turn my head around to look up. The cross was still there! But that other light beam did not hit the spot where I was standing. It touched the steeple of one of the two churches on the other side of the dead-end street. It was the one in direct line with the street,
About 10 years or so later, my business grew and I had acquired an account with the largest Chinese realty in Chicago. They had been successful at usually getting more than property owners were asking in Bridgeport surrounding Chinatown. Now, as I am visiting the area, I am just south of the Archer-Elias Intersection and want to find out which church would line up. On 31st I found the two churches about a block or two from each other, and then I figured out the one that the beam of light had pointed to. The sign in front of it read, “Monastery of the Holy Cross.”
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