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September 2021
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Chicago Chilling

By Xiao

Lived in Chicago area for quite some time before. In fact, Chicago is one of my favorite cities. Yet, I have always felt the chills in this area. Guess memory is selective, I had hoped that this time, it would be different. With the spring, with a home, I would not feel it. But guess nothing really changes. After submerged in the lake yesterday, then today soaked in toilet water, I stood in the mud with wet socks on, the wind was blowing right through me. I have never felt so cold, even now, with heater on, sitting in the cold dark airstream alone, I am shaking.

Maybe it is the big plain, it offers no shelter, nowhere to hide. Whether you think you have a roof over your head or someone to curl up to, you will be constantly reminded of the bitterness of reality, the unforgiving side of the windy city. Now all the memories rush back. The view of thousands of geese covered the sky in the last light as they were escaping to the south, is burned into my mind. The apartment I had just around the corner of the lab recorded many cold sometimes even scary nights and days of mine. The restaurant where every waiters knew me, as I always treated my friends there and had my table-for-one Chinese New Year dinner of half cooked dumplings. Chicago was a place where I had a lot of friends, Chicago was a place where I had somewhat of a legacy. Yet, I always felt cold in Chicago. I like Chicago, whether it is open plain or the honesty. Even the wind is honest, it does not pretend to be gentle. It is said that a place makes its own people. I think Chicago is no exception. The big plain makes self preservation a part of the character, so when you are in Chicago, you are more in touch with reality, the good and bad. The wind makes one honest, you do not bother to put on disguise or sugar coat. Once you are in Chicago area, you are more real and genuine, for better or for worse.

For two days, I have been back to Chicago area, a place where a lot of things started, a place now brought me back to the reality, shattered illusion, guess it is a full circle. For two days, I have been back to Chicago, I feel the chills in my blood, I cannot stop shivering.

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