I “met” Chicago when a train ride was still $1.25, and Macy’ was still Marshall Fields. Chicago “met” me when I was a nineteen-year-old, closeted, Columbia College kid fresh from Wisconsin. Do the math and you’ll get ten years ago. The instant I walked through downtown’s busy streets I fell for the city. Over the years, Chicago became the love of my life. Seriously, how can anyone not fall head over heels for this place? Just seeing the lake from our apartment’s view on a summer day like today is enough to make anyone swoon.
That’s why my heart’s breaking. At this very moment, my entire South Loop apartment is in boxes. Five hours from now I’ll hand a set of keys over to our landlord, load up the car, and hit the highway for a four day move across country with the real (human, at least!) love of my life, Nathan. For the first time in our lives, we both will leave our Midwestern roots for new careers in Los Angeles. Nate’s my boyfriend, but he understands that Chicago is my first true love. That’s why he’s letting me take my time to bask in “the end.
As we wait for the movers, I take my time looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows at a view of a skyline that made me fall for Chicago years ago. Right now, I can see the tip of Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel spinning and to the right, Solider Field. Way, way out—on the lake’s horizon—I can see sailboats enjoying the last official weekend of summer. In between all of that are buildings, restaurants, bars, and streets I’ve spent years using as backdrop for my life’s story. So many memories lived with so many lessons.
I’ve decided, as a keepsake, to take a picture of our apartment’s view through the window to keep, you know, to remind myself of the one that got away.
Trust me, I can’t wait for the adventure ahead. I know I’ll embrace the opportunity the same way I did when I came here. Heck, maybe I’ll even fall in love with LA. Who am I kidding? I’m just not the cheating kind.
About the author: Byron Flitsch’s a writer who happens to be obsessed with photo booths and pop-culture. His website, www.byronflitsch.com, makes him easy to stalk.
Filed under: September 2011