Chicago

Written on my iPhone while in the sky, heading for Chicago this morning.

Bought a ticket for Chicago last week, about to board the plane. When I purchased the ticket I felt pretty damn good, health wise, and then my body finally took the hit catching a cold. That was a week ago, the Internet say 4-7 days is about the time frame it’ll last.  I needed to Google how long a cold lasts because in my whole life I’ve never had a cold, that’s a joke if you missed it. I’m on day 6; keep me in your thoughts.

The last few months have been difficult splitting time between Battle Creek, MI where I’m from, and Knoxville, TN where I own a home. Both of my Grandparents were in the hospital. They thought Grandpa was saying his final goodbye. He’s a baseball legend in many parts of this country and Europe. Grandma had just come home from her stay, and needed three infusions a day of antibiotics. My family in Michigan is quite large, but with full time jobs, young children and lives of their own, it left the fleet to help out quite thin. Two of my Aunts are present in care full time, around the clock. When I got the call from my Aunt K about Grandpa, I didn’t hesitate. I packed a minimal bag of clothes, laptop, couple sport jackets, and drove 45 min in the opposite direction to grab my Moms new Jeep. My car had done the North-South drive too many times, plus I needed to save what it had left to pick up my kids in North Carolina, on my weekends. Mom had only been home a few days from CCU herself, so to leave for Michigan wasn’t the best timing. I missed my Grandma, and I think in a lot of ways we both needed each other, that’s what the voice in my heart said anyway. You know the one that tells ya things then sends the message to your mind, which runs it through all the years of filtering to give you information on how to make a decision? My particular filtering over the last year had been cursed, casted in the darkest of spaces. My heart and mind need to go to couples counseling because the last few seasons either the mind is going deaf, or she ain’t taking suggestions from the old dude pumping wisdom down there. Which is why I’m trying to free my mind of toxic things – all things toxic. People, language, ideas, anything that doesn’t have flow, you know the word “flow”? It’s the trendiest word right now isn’t it? If you see it in a text message from a friend who’s also a healer, and you also see it in a text from your X mother in law whose not, then it’s trendy, still a real thing, but come on, its trendy. Everyone is out there looking for it. If you find it please send it my way, I’d like to have it over for a bit, reserve a spot for a couple months.

Where was I?

I had just spent two weeks with my Mom in a Knoxville hospital. She was sick – congestive heart failure, a bursting heart valve, and some nasty infection she is still battling right now. I can’t really express the fear that comes over you when the doctor in ICU tells your family that the most important Woman in your life needs open heart surgery. My Mom is tough. But this was a damn shock. We had largely avoided major health issues in our family. We lost a cousin very young which was tragic and age was doing its thing to the older generation, but open-heart surgery? I wasn’t ready for this. I hugged my Mom and we cried together. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her cry like that. In these moments there’s not much you can do but wipe the tears away and focus. So my mom and me hung out at the hospital every night for two weeks, my step dad took the day shift. I slept in a recliner; she slept in her hospital bed, commenting every night that she couldn’t think of a more uncomfortable mattress. We spoke of her heart and focused on what was coming down the line for her. We talked about my life, what I needed to do to lift myself out of the relationship “shit show” that had been my last couple years. One ended in divorce then the rebound came and that ended too. Both were ripe for an end. My experience over the last couple years has been similar to my childhood…transition after transition, new energy to maneuver, new starts to begin, everything always seems new, until it isn’t, and that’s when problems come.

Life is about the risk, nothing comes without it. To avoid pain out of fear is not living. I’m certainly living, even if at times it’s feels like it’s never enough. Never enough art completed, never enough things done correctly, never enough of me doing what I’m capable of. When I feel like that, it’s just me not experiencing my own life. I’ve known this for a long time. I’ll have to remind myself of it again, no doubt.

In reflection you almost speak to the past, or your past self is speaking to you now. This trip to Chicago is happening right now. I’m on the Plane typing this as we get set for takeoff – Everyone around me from different places, different experiences. “Heading to Chicago, thank you mileage plus customers”. Now the seatbelt lesson no one is paying attention to. If we going down the last thing any of us care about are seat belts, right? I shouldn’t say that, shit, there’s no wood in this plane. Can we knock on plastic yet? Shouldn’t we be able to knock on plastic at this point? I just missed the section about oxygen masks, I always do and if I need to use one I hope the fella next to me was on his cell phone writing like me, but listening to the flight attendant read these instructions. Interesting to note, she was reading them from a note pad. Is this her first flight? Maybe its number 50, and she hasn’t got it down yet?

The last time I came to Chicago was for a girl I met the time before the last time I went to Chicago. You follow that? Two times ago I met a girl in the Windy City, then came back to see her. There, much better. It was 2017, my marriage was 3 months into its separation, and divorce takes awhile so you’re separated first not divorced, in case you didn’t know that. I just told most people I was divorced already, who has time to get into what happens before a divorce?

Chicago two years ago I was a wreck of a mess, I didn’t know it though. I was too busy looking for love. Yeah, I was separated 3 months from my wife, two kids, and a stay at home dad, no job, and all I wanted to do was fall in love. I certainly had my priorities in a healthy place. Chicago has always been the city to cut loose for me. Even as a child my family would load up in the cars and celebrate our heritage at one of the annual Macedonian conventions. Two of my good friends live here. And like any good friend when you need some time to unwind, they know how to show you a good time in a real city. When I saw her I was hit. It wasn’t that she was so beautiful; it’s just the way of some people I suppose. It’s those instant feelings with a stranger that has me questioning relationships. Damn, so I’m in love with someone and in a second they can see another person and be floored with lust? I guess my poorly filtering mind had been convinced that love somehow neutered our human instinct to hump other humans? On that tip it’s the heart that screwed up not the mind. In this section of their relationship the mind wants so badly to believe the heart. And the heart believes love is like God. I had fooled myself, again. The poets and poems were just another tool for capitalism, Hollywood and literature engraving fictional possibilities of what love is. It too belonged to fleeting materialism that only encouraged more from the worst sense of ourselves. “You’re a 12 month lover and then you get bored”. A friend told me that recently.

About to land in Chicago…

“We develop narratives to destroy our love so we can survive”

 

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