02 November 2010

8 chicagoline


we all have our own chicago. each is different, none the same.

mine is the 1.2 mile stretch that lay between my apartment and where the crofts used to live. lincoln park to lincoln to sedgwick to dickens to hudson to webster to cleveland to grant to geneva to belden over fullerton to arlington. that is my chicagoland.

i'm romanticizing. this walk is not glamorous or glitzy. it's nothing like downtown at night- a sight that still after all these years, even when i've only been away for three hours in aurora eating chick-fil-a, makes a sensation of unexpected, undeserved, impossible freedom unfold in my heart so that my breath catches and i am shocked all over again by the fact that i actually live here. that i am this lucky.

the stretch from the crofts to arlington place is not a matter of luck. it was by design. when i blew into town for 22 hours in january 2006, i went tromping through the rain specifically looking for an apartment within walking distance of croftie and doug. upon moving- the day after my parents and i stood sobbing in the middle of the road as though they were leaving me in a war zone rather than on arlington place- i  google mapped my way to the crofts house for dinner. this route- the one i was on the other night- is what google maps gave me then.

i have done this walk in all seasons, all weather, and a farrago of emotional states. there is probably no thirteen block stretch in chicago so loaded with my ghosts and possibilities. we've reached a point where it should probably be painful. where i should've deviated and branched on to other, unexplored paths. and yet there is something strangely comforting in this walk. on cold, cold nights, it is like an old quilt. this history i have on this handful of streets. these streets i have walked down with others but, more often, by myself. maybe on my way to you.

8 comments:

Osutein said...

Beautifully said. Mine used to be Chicago & Washtenaw to Chicago & Michigan. I know every crack in the sidewalk of that stretch. Now that I've moved I'm developing a new Chicago, but every time I'm down on Chicago Ave again, I feel that little tug of nostalgia on my heart. That's the funny thing about cities. You can move less than a mile away and still feel like you've left a whole world behind.

oline said...

this actually came out of our old town bar session, so clearly we need to keep that up.

Lara Ehrlich said...

Sigh. I miss you.

oline said...

and i you. we might need to watch anne over the phone soon...

Les Savy Ferd said...

it's the used to live that got me.

oline said...

that broke my heart a teeny bit too.

Osutein said...

Old Town will always be the Dominion of the Crofts to me, too.

Lara Ehrlich said...

I'm weeping over here. And YES to the Anne-over-the-phone date.