Coming of Age

I both love and hate Chicago.

I hate how cold it gets, I hate how hot it gets. I hate the stink when you go under a bridge, I hate the long long lines.

But I love the many restaurants and towering buildings. I love the parks and the museums.

I hate the trash and dirty water that lines the streets, sometimes overflowing onto the sidewalk. I hate the high prices and the small apartments.

But I love important things like The Bean, or the Willis Tower (or Seris, I can never remember). I love the river that they die green on St. Patrick's day.

I could go on and on.

I have seven days. Seven days before I move. I have to do everything.

So I planned out a grand, one-last-time tour of Chicago, and this is how it went.


The first place I go is Millenium Park. I go under the bean and stick my tongue out at my reflection. Then, I go to the swings, convincing Brian to push me.

It is my last week, I deserve to act like a child.

I ride the Ferris wheel and I get ice cream from one of those ice cream carts.

We end the day by watching Wonder Woman in the big field.


The second day I go to the Art Museum and take a selfie with the lions before admiring the paperweights and miniature rooms. 

For lunch, we eat burritos from a food truck and donuts from another food truck. It is delicious.

By then, Brian and I are tired, but I convince him to go to the Museum of Science and Industry where I cheer on the trains as they arch over painted rivers and through plastic tunnels. I run the human hamster wheel, and I am soon out of breath. We do as much as we can until the museum closes, and we go to dinner.


On the third day, we have brunch at Nellie's ordering their famous oatmeal. Then we go to the field museum to see Sue and the other cool things.

We have turkey and cheese with mayonnaise sandwich for Brian, and a Pb&J sandwich for me.

Then we go to the Adler Planetarium and reserve a spot on the big screen while playing with all the interactive stuff.

For dinner, we have sushi.


On the fourth day, we go to the zoo. We manage to cover the whole zoo and see all the animals before lunch.

For lunch, we eat at Small Cheval, the best burger place in the world. I order a plain cheeseburger, fries, and a vanilla milkshake.

Then we walk the Chicago Riverwalk, just talking and having fun.


For the fifth day, we do the architecture boat tour and the guide explains how the Chicago River used to stink so the old buildings don't have windows facing the river.

For lunch, we have empanadas with meat, and cheese, and spinach.

Then we go to the top of Willis Tower and go onto the Skydeck. I scream because I am terrified hights.

Well, I'm technically not afraid of rights. It's the falling from heights that scares me. A squirrel is the only thing I know that can survive a fall from the top of the Willis Tower. And I am not a squirrel.


On the sixth day, we have breakfast at Yolk.

Then we go to the Garfield Park Conservatory and I stop at all the plants and fish before finishing and having BBQ for lunch.

Then we go to the beach and splash each other in the water.


The seventh day is my last day. I invite all my friends and family that live in Chicago to a potluck. They bring mac n' cheese and pizza and chips and soup and mashed potatoes. Everything you can imagine. The kids run around the apartment playing with the toys and fun. My uncle turns on a football and everyone starts picking who they think will win and cheering them on. The Chicago Bears are not playing, but no one cares.

When the game is over and that is left of the nachos are crumbs, people start to leave.

A few are staying, some just to enjoy the party a little more, some in hopes of us agreeing to let them sleep over. I do not tell them that for once, I will say yes.

Jeremy stays for a few more hours, and Violet, Lucy, and Daniel are staying for a sleepover. Violet and Daniel have to get permission from her parents first, but we arrange places for them to sleep.

I'm going to be on the way to the airport before they wake up, but Lucy assures me she will have it all under control, and return Violet and Daniel back to their homes.


On the morning of the eighth day, I grab my many bags of already packed thing. I go downstairs, and say goodbye to Leo, a friend of mine who lives on the first floor of the building.

I get in Brian's white Toyota, and I take a nap while he drives me to the airport. Brian wakes me up a few minutes before we get there, as we drive on the highway. It's completley quiet except for the rumble of the car.

Finally, Brian breaks the silence. "How do you feel about it?"

"About what?"


"Well, I'm not going to be in Michigan for that long."

"Yeah, but leaving Chicago. I mean, it's where you grew up, it's your current home. . ."

"My relationship with Chicago is. . .complicated. Some days, I love Chicago and I love everything in Chicago, and I can only see the good parts of Chicago. The friendly people, the variety of everything, all the places tourists go. I'm proud of Chicago. But then there are days when I can only see the bad side of Chicago. The people begging for money on the streets. How dirty it is. Just. . .everything bad about Chicago. And those days, I feel like I've outgrown Chicago like a pair of shoes that are not popular anymore. Those days I want to move somewhere else."

"So you have a love hate relationship with Chicago."

"Yeah, I guess so."

"What makes you stay those days?"

"I think to myself, well, every place has that good side and that bad side. Same as Chicago. And I know Cichago. I don't know other places like San Frinsisco."

"Cool. Anyway, we're here. Your plane will arrive in like. . ."

Brian checks his phone.

"Two hours. We have time."

"Thank you Brian."

"Your welcome. And I'm glad I got to experience your love of Chicago before you left."

I furrow my brow. "What do you mean?"

"On the last seven days, you loved Chicago, and you showed your love for Chicago."

"I did? I guess that is true."

I smile.

"Brian, I think my love for Chicago will always outweigh my hate for it."

"I agree."

March 14, 2021 00:33

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16:42 Mar 25, 2021

Great description of Chicago! I really enjoyed the love the character puts in it, I would suggest maybe adding more imagery and detail, such as the snow. 'the white filled everywhere, trees with chunks of snow on them and buildings that looked...' but overall nice job!


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Chelsie Hermsen
03:28 Mar 25, 2021

Great story! I would maybe add a little more detail but it was a great piece!


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Amelia Bowen
21:36 Mar 24, 2021

Great story!


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Paula Dennison
22:37 Mar 18, 2021

This story was kind of like reading a journal. It gave a good look at the really nice places to visit in Chicago. It sounded like you loved Chicago more than you hated it because you really didn't say much about what you hated and how those things made you feel. My favorite part was the conversation that you and Brian had on the way to the airport. Your dialogue flowed very well. I suggest you read your stories out loud as you had a couple of typos that you still can correct. In one place you typed "hight" instead of height and then after th...


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Ruben Lewin
15:12 Mar 15, 2021

Wonderful story of feelings for an abstract thing like a city. Chicago must be a lot of things including the people on it that you love! We love them too! Keep going You are very talented!


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