Chicago; A Love Story

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Home is a turquoise blue. It is cold and windy and sunny. Home is the reflection of the buildings bouncing off the diamond lake when it’s finally summertime, and everyone gives out a sigh of relief that they can put away their jackets and take their dogs for walks.

Home is bundled up in scarves and parkas, early nighttimes and an excuse to stay inside. It’s a conversation to have between acquaintances, something to complain about when you’re waiting in line or meeting for lunch. It’s gloomy and cozy and sucks the feeling out of your body. It’s the kind of cold you miss when you move away.

In between seasons, people dream about Christmas lights over cobbled streets, miles of busy beaches and occupied skyscrapers. When I miss Home most, I can almost feel the fuzzy Ugg boots against my feet in March slush. I can almost taste the Hot chocolate in February, and remember the first day of springtime you start to feel in April as you roll down the car windows in 65 degree weather just to feel the sunshine on your skin.

Home is a city skyline lit up in front of dark clouds, in a way you think you’ve never seen before, even though you’ve seen it a thousand times before and will continue to see it a thousand more times when you return home.

But really, Home is the smell of spring, the freshness of a new season that makes you think of your Dad’s warm cup of coffee and his nose looking up from his newspaper as he greets you on Saturday morning.

Home is the drive down the lakefront in the backseat of your Dad’s car. You know the route by heart but are surprised every time as the city opens up like the beaches in May. It is your brother bundled up in his coat as he warms up your car and plays music as you drive him to get Starbucks before school. It’s your sister’s homecoming, when the whole house is cleaned for her and something feels exciting even though this is the way it’s always been. Home is your mom’s frazzled calmness as she takes you downtown, shows you her passions and loves that become your own in the city that is Home even before you moved there and after you moved away. 

Home to me, winter or summer, is represented in everything that is Chicago: the cold, the wet, the unbearable temperatures people joke about in order to get through the five months of winter. The snow represents all the differences between this new Home I chose and the Home I’ve always had. The weather is obvious but the people are not. I’ve missed Chicago so terribly, but Home is the people I play in the snow with. It’s the people I hurry home with in snowstorms and walk through downtown as they scold me for not wearing tights with my dress in such cold weather.

Two more weeks until I see my Home again, and stay for the few months that is the Chicago summer. I’ll go back to my daily routine that I had a year ago. I’ll see friends that have started to feel more distant than just the miles between us and the weather I’ve craved every day since fall.

After years of complaining about negative degree weather and wearing coats over my outfits, I dream about Home every day. I’m usually curled up in a blanket in my room overlooking the lake. My mom calls me for dinner and outside, it’s snowing. 

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