Three years ago today, I moved to Chicago. I moved from Rockford, from a condo off the bus line. There, I lived a detached life rationalized by reading good books, writing bad prose and becoming computer literate. I supplemented physical isolation with emotional unavailability. I depended on others to meet my needs. I sought refuge among the safe and the familiar. My Seeing Eye dog atrophied from disuse. My lifestyle made sense only in the context that I was going blind, I was frozen by fear and I was depressed.
Then I moved to Chicago to live with my girlfriend, now my wife. Our first Sunday together, I knocked over a full pot of coffee onto the Sunday Tribune. Later, I broke the lawn mower running it over the water meter. That afternoon, at a garden reception, I talked to empty chairs and continued conversations with people who had strolled away. On the way home, I caught my favorite shirt in the car door and ripped the entire pocket from the body. I finished by pouring orange juice into the silverware drawer.
My wife said, “This has been a tough day for you, hasn’t it?”
“Probably tougher on you, my dear,” I said. “As for me, I took some risks. Not all panned out, but that’s not your fault. Some were careless, but I don’t feel the fool. I’m still standing and I hope your head is held high. Maybe I should stick to what’s safe. But the burden of fear is lifting and I am living a little. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait until next weekend.”