My Kind of Town

Well, I did it.  I pulled the trigger and I signed a lease for a downtown apartment. Chicago’s alure pulled me with all its memories of my past and its big shoulders eagerly awaiting me to lean on. When I stood on the balcony of the apartment in the middle of the city, I knew this had to be my home, if only for six months. I couldn’t ignore Chicago’s wind whispering in my face “Welcome Home”, or my tears of thanksgiving.  I need Chicago right now. I need its comfort, its familiarity, its hustle and bustle, its offerings, its feel inside of me.  I need any of it…all of it.

Peter and I kicked around the idea of a rental in Chicago like a passing rock in our lives. I liked the idea of having a place to write, and he entertained the idea of a place to say after sailing all day. It became more of a possibility with retirement. BUT, it never came to fruition, like so many other plans that died with Peter, until now. It won’t be an us place., but it will be a me place.

Last weekend, as I stood on the balcony watching the sailboats glide on top of the lake’s waves, I felt Peter. I looked for something close to the lake. I wanted a view of Lake Michigan because I knew I would be connected to Peter there. He had a love for the Lake. He spent so much of his time on it, rocking and drifting on its beauty. He felt most himself riding on his motorcycle and sailing the waters. It was his Zen. To be near his Zen, to see it, means I will feel him, in all his beautiful, peaceful, glory.

As for me, Chicago was my home once. Sure, I made another home with Peter and the kids, but now with Peter dead and my kids flying away in search of their own home, my connection to this one is marred at best. So, like a child who has had a bad day at school, I need my old home right now. I need Chicago. And as I breathed in the scent of the city,  took in its sounds, and saw the diversity of people, a ping of nostalgia comforted my heart. Here, for six months at least, and maybe only half a week at a time, I found my respite.

I will still have my home in the ‘burbs. I am not so sure when I will sell it. There are so many unfinished projects in these walls. Projects were eventualities never questioned, until it was gone, replaced by never-again. I know they have to be completed, yet not in my state of overwhelming grief. I … just … can’t … do … them. Maybe part of me doesn’t want to let go of them. Maybe one more thing to do, to feel, will break me. Maybe there’s a sense of guilt as

I told Peter the Monday he died, to go out and have fun on his day off instead of finishing off a room he was painting. It was said out of love for him, but I always wonder if I insisted he finish, would the outcome be different. I never was a nagger. And he never responded to nagging. It probably wouldn’t have mattered. Something else may have killed him as it seemed to be his time. And, he did die doing something for himself, something he loved. Not a bad way to go.

Well, I guess It doesn’t matter. I can’t right now do anything to the house, and I can’t sit all the time in a house filled with memories and incompleteness.  And I know that’s okay.  It’s okay for me to escape, maybe heal some and figure out my life without Peter in it. I’m still anchored to a connection of him with Lake Michigan. I still won’t be without the thought of him, the longing for him. Those will never go away.

I will soon be back to something familiar. My sister-in-law/friend texted me a “welcome back” text. It made me cry. I am back to where I was planted, and, perhaps, in order to grow more, I need to tend to those roots.