I have a ticket to Chicago. That's the best kind of ticket, if you ask me. It's for Monday through Saturday. Yes, I'm certain to see and hear and eat some beautiful things like holiday lights and the dialogue from "A Christmas Carol" at the Goodman and some Reza's vegetarian shami or Pizano's thin crust. But there'll be something missing.
Slowly but surely the past few years, my most treasured friends have been leaving Chicago. Three so far, but the list threatens to get longer. One left because of a divorce. One for a job. And one's about to leave for a PhD program. Life.
The first was my harmonizing partner. I mean harmonizing as in singing. We're musical theatre nerds. Just love music in general. You know "Alone" by Heart? Yep, we'd kill that in her luxury downtown condo. So much so that a neighbor once knocked on the door to ask her when we'd be done singing. Yes, we were good. ARE good. But the harmonizing will have to wait until I visit her one day in Ohio.
The next was my neighbor in MY downtown apartment building. As "luck" would have it, when I was looking for a women's bible study group through my church, a group happened to be meeting in my very own building...right along the river. We became good friends. And to say that this woman is generous and kind and one-of-a-kind is an understatement. I hit the bible study buddy/neighbor/friend jackpot. But our laughs will have to wait until I visit her one day in Arizona.
The last is my friend the Writer. Wrote herself a master's thesis novel on Jackie O and happens to be one of the most dynamic, loving women on the planet. We met at church one day. We sat next to each other, started chatting after the service, and the rest was history. But our in-person musings will have to wait until I visit her one day in London (although we will get one last Potbelly on Dearborn session before she departs in a matter of days...)
Is Chicago still Chicago without your loved ones there? Yes. But No. There will still be magic. There will still be wonder and awe. A satisfied tummy. A satisfied mind (how could there not be with so much culture and amazingness all around? Chicago IS Love, you could say. I should put that on a bumper sticker). But can there be a satisfied heart--without the people?
I'm getting older. Clinging to my 30's. And yes, time does seem to pass extremely quickly and yes, people seem to matter the most. They seem to matter the most because they DO matter the most.
I said in my last post that there is no beauty in the What without the Who. And Chicago, no matter how inimitably beautiful you may be, you'll be a bit less so when I get off the train at Clark and Lake next week.
Hallmark should make a card for this.
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