My dad doesn’t like you very much. He’s happy that Lakeshore Drive exists so that he can, for the most part, avoid you, and he says you’re a cesspool, which I find rather funny. I want you to know, though, that I’ve grown extraordinarily fond of you. I’m sorry that for now I can’t stay, but I’m sure I’ll be back soon. You have a lot of my friends.
Yesterday my dad and I made the drive for me to say goodbye, and the fog obscured the skyline, but I could feel it anyway. There’s a rush that I feel coming into the city, like I manage to connect to the millions of lives going on around me, busy busy busy, compact and glowing. Once I’m past 95th I can imagine the Red Line, and while Dad and I ease into traffic my mind is spiralling up the tracks to my campus, to my apartment and my two goofy roommates. I like knowing that we’re all in the same place, tied into the web of energy that stretches across the sky.
Chicago, you should know that I’ve come to consider you home. I hope you don’t mind that you’ll have to share the title with Detroit; it came first, after all. But over the last year and a half, a year and a half of growth and exploration and imaginings, I’ve come to love my life in view of the skyline, with Lady Lake and her sass and the wind shoving its way between buildings. I’m comfortable and confident and happy on campus, with a constant awareness of the people I love close by and the almost tangible notion of opportunity peeking its head around the corner. I’ve even grown fond of the instant mac and cheese, late night soda runs, constantly refilling the toilet paper roll, and communicating primarily in grunts, groans, and hisses early in the morning. I like letting the days roll by in this bizarre space of pretended adulthood and admitted youth, where in the morning I’m drafting emails to professors at my most formal and in the afternoon my roommate and I are getting Happy Meals at McDonald’s for lunch, because Pokémon toys are the bomb.
Chicago, I think it would be fair to say that this epoch of my life belongs to you. Maybe as far as measured time goes we didn’t stay together for long, but it feels like an age, in the best way possible. This isn’t really goodbye– it’s just a rain check. Take care of my friends while I’m gone, please. They’re special.
P.S. I’ve decided to forgive you for that time I fell in the lake. I know you were just messing around ~M