Thursday, December 15, 2016

At peace amongst the noise: Mike and Corey

In the cacophony of empty chatter, the voices of Mike and Corey stood out to each other. Whether amongst the blaring music at a mutual friend's house party or the buzzing background noise of Wrigley Field, this pair found that they would just rather listen to each other.

"We both liked having someone to talk with," Mike told me.

I met Mike and Corey and their two children, Dylan and Kennedy, for a holiday-greeting-card portrait session in the Cook County Forest Preserves. Kennedy plays soccer at her school, but Dylan is a left-handed pitcher at his. The boy has become a follower of the White Sox, which has become a source of consternation in the otherwise Cubs-aligned home. I interviewed them back before the World Series began; Mike is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, but he told me prior to Game 1 that he would cheer for the North Side over the Cleveland Indians.

"I live in the shadow of Wrigley Field," he told me. "I grew up a Tribe fan, but I live here now."

As a single young man, Mike landed on the North Side when he moved to Chicago; he made friends, and started attending parties at their houses on the weekends. Through a confluence of connections, he kept hearing one particular voice at some of those gatherings — and the voice was connected to a particularly lovely face. Corey's.

Corey looked at Mike's face, and immediately saw...some guy's face.

"He was nice," she said of that ker-plunk first impression.

But Corey was raised in a family of Cubs disciples, and Mike had bought into a season-ticket package with some friends. Upon learning this, hanging out with him became a larger priority.

"I wanted your season tickets," she confessed to him during our interview.

Even during the ugly, 100-loss seasons that preceded the 2016 world championship, Wrigley Field is usually a crowded and buzzing place on game days. Mike and Corey tuned it all out, though. Once they got together, even the crack of a bat got relegated into the background.

Mike and Corey have followed each others' voices for a long time now.

"That ended up being a lot of what we do, is just share a story," Mike told me.