Now I’m 24 and about nine months into my first year in Chicago. I’ve had my wallet stolen, broken two phones, had one job close down, and another one catch on fire. One day when I was really hurting for money, I found an unmarked purse on the ground outside stuffed with over $300 in cash. I think in the end it was cursed or, at the very least, haunted.
By some sort of miracle I’m still here and, to my surprise, paying my rent on time. I often yearn for some things I know I can only get in Indianapolis: watching my friend’s kids get so hyped up on two sips of a milkshake that they nearly explode, the dive bar that used to be a Chinese restaurant, cardboard cutouts of race-car drivers propped up beneath the opulent red and gold ceiling tiles. Take your pick.
I miss the dirty basement clubs where I drank too much and danced until my legs hurt. I miss belting "I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt on a mirrored staircase. I miss the international supermarket down the road from my mom’s house where I got lost in the aisles, picking up cardamom and café bustelo and imported candy. I miss eating greasy chicken fingers at a 24-hour diner, accompanied by the sounds of a loud drag show at the other end of the bar. I miss my family. Like, even my brother. I miss my very bad dog who ate my diploma along with my mom’s prayer journal. I miss the Mexican restaurant where, I kid you not, my dad goes twice weekly, at the very least. I miss the beautiful, weird city that in my heart will always be my home.