A lot can be said about this rusty old town. Chicago seems to have an uncanny ability to laugh off the worst of time and the elements, a gleaming miasma of endurance, determination and sheer stubbornness. The earth tried to swallow it, fire tried to burn it. The winter ice presses harder every year and the wind blows with a vicious intent.
Yet Chicago endures because it is a city of defiance and definites. It is definitely cold. It is definitely dangerous and it is definitely home to the most daringly defiant and often detrimentally determined denizens of this here United States. So here’s a letter to you.
It’s hard for me not to be brutally honest when I talk about you because being brutally honest comes part and parcel with being from Chicago. I love and hate you, so I find it near impossible to write impartially about you, but then again, you’re not an impartial town. We pick sides here.
You are a town where every day people make the conscious decision to leave their homes and venture forth through a metropolis where they face violence, corruption, and weather on par with Gotham City, not only to sustain their lives but to live them to their absolute fullest. Somehow you seem to encapsulate ordered anarchy. Where the sheer chaos of dysfunction seems to blend seamlessly with citizens determined to triumph almost in spite of it.
Maybe this love letter sounds more like a breakup note, but I promise, dear Chicago, that I love you. I catch glimpses of you now and again. Stuck in traffic on I-94, my heart flutters watching the sunrise through your skyline. I feel at home in that bumper to bumper, looking South at your face, gleaming in the morning light. I felt like your brother when we hoisted that W over Wrigley field, dancing and laughing like children when we realized we had finally freaking done it!
Do I hate your crumbling infrastructure or am I in love with the way your rusting skeleton sets the pallet for the colors of my imagination. I will travel far in this world. I have already traveled further than most. Yet, no matter the miles tacked on to this defiant body I can’t seem to escape you. There is no place like home because there is no place like you Chicago.
Flying home from my adventures there is no better feeling than coming in over that expanse of the restless blue lake to watch your otherworldly facade glisten off its surface. In an eerie combination of pride, determination and love do your denizens embrace you. We embrace you like we embrace a loved one. Determined to love you regardless of what has happened.
My dear Chicago, you were my first, my last and forever will be my home. I love you and your dirty complexion, for behind it lies the face of one who stands up when others lie down works while others complain, and truly lives life while others ponder its meaning. So here’s to you Chicago, the second city who is second to none, and who will be my home until all is said and all is done.