By Kathleen Fields
Blackout in Chicago. Detox in Texas. I land in Dallas and drive through McKinney, Fort Worth, Allen, Lucas, and New Hope. I left our city to meet you in your promised land. This place is new new new and it hurts. We’ve never been new. We’ve been love fast and quick. This fucking place is manmade lakes, mansions, churches and churches. God damn, it’s hot, 110 degrees hot-overheated iPhone hot. You are not coming home with me now or maybe ever. You say, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do this to you. Texas is fast highways, long, weird uber rides from the airport to you, everything named after the Bushes and every chain you can dream up: In-N-Out, Sonic, Starbucks. You got to go to Whataburger! Last week in Chicago, I watched The Notebook and decided to open your diary. I decided to look. I read why. I read why you couldn’t stop using. I read and read and read. Now, you are in Texas and I’m home. Now, I go back and forth, back and forth. Swinging and Texas Two Steppin between O’Hare and you. Back home, I watch The Real Housewives of Dallas and sleep with my packed suitcase, laundry and tiny dog on the bed to feel less lonely. I need weight to balance the bed. It’s having enough time to replay last week over and over and over. It’s feeling like I have nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing. Go ahead, get into that alley fight. Go ahead, walk around ready to run. Go ahead, blow all this up. It’s the pressure of alone- rent, tickets, childcare, bills, payments. It’s standing in Chicago, screaming at the insurance agent, into the phone, walking, pushing the stroller, shh shh shh baby, mommy is on the phone, shh shh shh, here’s some goldfish, shh shh shh, please, baby, here’s some more. It’s how we ended up here-politely ignoring one another in the hopes of finding healthy. We tried our best. We did. And, now, it’s not good enough. Chicago is skyscrapers, brick buildings, neighborhoods, water and corruption. Texas is new movie cineplexes, new Residence Inns, new Hampton Inns, new Sheridan Suites, it’s not eating, it’s only eating candy, it’s wandering around everywhere, it’s feeling terrified. Blackout in Chicago. Detox in Texas. It’s dark and sick and upside down and wishing I could just start over, start over, start over and give our baby back.
Kathleen Fields is a founding editor of Pine Row Press and Chicagoan. More can be found at https://kathleen-fields.com