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You Can Take the Girl out of the City...
Naperville is not my only home. Yes, I live in the suburban Illinois neighborhood, but I also have a second town that is my literal second home. Chicago. One word represents it all—the shopping, the hustle and bustle, and the fluorescent sunny taxis—as yellow as the traffic signal. I am lying in bed, admiring the sunset as it admires me, and adoring the oncoming crescent, before my window, reflecting on how wonderful my day has been. My father returned from his business trip to Detroit last night, and my parents and I awoke early to breakfast at my favorite early morning location, Denny’s, before cruising to Chicago. We browsed at Marshall Field’s and my mother discovered an enchanting lavender blouse; we then strolled down the streets to the Museum of Science and Industry. Early evening had us visiting my grandparents in Chinatown. Afterwards, we sailed to the suburbs so I could sleep over at my best friend’s house. Tomorrow, my best friend Ellie and I will go bowling at The Odyssey, our preferred entertainment center, followed by a bike race with all our friends to chase the ice cream truck, and later, a movie marathon. My family and I receive the best of both superlatives—the calming chaos of the city, and the laid-back lifestyle of the neighborhood.
As morning unfolds and transmutes into noon, I stumble to my house, as exhausted from last night as Marie Antoinette after fleeing France during the Revolution, to retrieve my bicycle. My mother motions me towards her, seeming lost. My father is adjacent to her, appearing uneasy. Both are seated at our dining table.
“How do you feel about Michigan?” My father starts.
“I don’t know...” I have not even been there. I’ve seen the shape of it on the map in my school classroom—it is a hand.
“Maybe we could visit,” my father throws out, ever the cautious zebra.
“Do we have relatives there?” I inquire innocently.
“Not exactly, but we will know some people there.”
“Who?” I ponder aloud.
“Some of my business associates...they plan on transferring to Michigan.” I am still clueless.
“My company is considering transferring our entire firm out-of-state.” I do not comprehend. These words are computer screens; too dizzying when placed together.
“We have to move.” My mother sighs. I comprehend this.
“No way,” I firmly state, as firmly as a ten-year-old is capable of. My father argues that considering and planning to are two separate entities, but I do not hear any of that. All I can hear is the roar of the airplane that will soon coerce us into departing upon, the apathetic bell of the soon-to-be lonely IMs between Ellie and me, and the disappointment of a child in tears. Because I am abandoning two cities, not one, and a best friend, not multiple casual friends.
I am now living in Michigan, and in the fifth grade. This is my first year away from my beloved Illinois. I was reluctant to make new friends a few weeks ago. Yesterday, however, a girl named Kelli complimented my Chicagoan outfit as we were at recess. She is new, too, and she is from Florida. She said she moves every summer, and now I feel less isolated. Kelli said that I am lucky I experienced partial life in the city, because if one is not exposed to it soon enough, as her mother says, the dog-eat-dog world will be of a shock. I feel better, and slightly superior, as I tilt back against my lawn chair and view the coral, citrus sunset. I don’t know how, but I feel as if at this moment, I never really left. The sunset is identical.