In the undeniable black, I awakened to a minion of Satan sitting on my face. OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but her name is Brinkley and she is the most unholy cunt of a cat known to mankind. Poising her rear-end in the air and presenting her asshole to me, I shoved her to the floor with indifferent cruelty as she let out a protesting “reeeeeeeearrrrrrrrr.” Fucking cat. It was three in the morning, I was annoyed, insomniatic, and I had only another forty-five minutes until it was time to head to the airport. Restlessly tossing through half-dreams of satanic cats and missed flights the acrimonious shrieks of my alarm pulled me from my warm darkness and into what I was as yet unaware would be the longest day trip I would ever take.

I showered my always aching body and began to get dressed in the relative dark. Putting on a restrictive bra, a skin-tight undershirt, an uncomfortable blouse, a high-waisted tweed pencil skirt, and five-inch heels, it occurred to me that I was donning the most restrictive outfit I possibly could for five hours of flying and layovers, save for throwing on a pair of pantyhose, a corset, and a chastity belt. I really don’t know how anyone wears this shit. I muttered the words, “fuck it,” took off the heels, threw them in my carry-on, and rocked my Birks instead. I was ready to go.

The Charlotte-Douglas International Airport was more crowded than usual, especially for five in the morning, but I had arrived with plenty of time to spare. I bought some coffee and went outside to smoke one last glorious cigarette before subjecting myself to the invasive whims of the TSA. On the plane without a hitch I fought the urge to order a breakfast cocktail, knowing I would be in a meeting in just a few hours. For some inexplicable reason the professional world frowns on drinking before work. Luckily enough, in the midnight of early morning I fell instantly asleep in the cramped seat and even the hour long layover in Detroit went off without a hitch. I caught a cab to the meeting, freshening my hair and make-up (and changing my shoes) in the backseat as we sped down the highway. About thirty minutes later I stepped out of the cab looking professional, put-together, and just the right amount of sexy. Just one more day I successfully fooled the planet into believing I am a legitimate member of the world of finance. If only they knew. After spending the following three hours listening to a management team unsuccessfully try to convince us their company was not going bankrupt, I was free. My colleague headed to the airport, and I to my hotel, ready to escape from the sartorial bondage that is business casual attire.

The Skyline over Millenium Park

The Skyline over Millenium Park

Appealing Incongruity

Appealing Incongruity

The afternoon in Chicago was ineffable. The sun unfolded the city in front of me, illuminating the awesome art and architecture on each corner. Though my hotel was just a few blocks from the world-renowned Art Institute (forever immortalized by the scene with Cameron and the Seurat painting in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) I found myself too distracted by everything I saw along the way. The skyscrapers rocketed up from ground in every direction around Millennium Park, framing the great amphitheatre and the giant steel bean that contorted the skyline in rounded pulls. IMG_0385
Anish Kapoor's $11.5 million Jelly Bean

Anish Kapoor's $11.5 million Jelly Bean

That bean was so fucking cool. The weather was a welcome invitation to the park for the city that had been cursed with a cool summer and an even more welcome relief from the thick Charlotte humidity to which I am used, and about which I often complain. I decided to take advantage of the weather and save the Art Institute for tomorrow. I wandered around for hours stepping in beat to my new favorite band, “Vampire Weekend,” taking pictures of any and everything, smiling at strangers, and enjoying the content of freedom and the wonder of the unfamiliar. After my peripatetic legs were weary of walking I sat down at a local pizza place, ordered a Fat Tire, some authentic Chicago deep dish, and drank my icy cold brew as the sun set over the jewelry district. It was a perfect afternoon.

Deep Dish in the Jewelry District

Deep Dish in the Jewelry District


After I returned to my hotel to regroup and enjoy a bottle of wine in insular comfort, the first threads began to come loose. Though I did want to explore the city, the real motive for extending my trip was (not surprisingly, if you know me) a man. Oh, the never-ending whirlwinds of my fickle and impetuous heart. It was only a few months ago that Scott and I ended our tumultuous relationship. Well, to be clear, we didn’t end anything. After close to a year of mendacious toying and tearing between two men whom I was convinced I loved simultaneously, he had had enough. What happened in Africa was the unforgivable, unforgettable straw. After having spent the three months since returning from Africa letting my hatred for Mladen dissolve into apathy, I finally let go. I ran back to Scott just in time to watch him fall in love with someone else. Via text. Who lives 3,000 miles away. Lovely. But after it all, I just wasn’t ready to let go of him too.

I opted to walk down Michigan Ave. the 1.4 miles from my hotel to his, through the hurried crowds of oblivious shoppers and tourists, amidst the lights of buildings disappearing into a great verdant fog.

John Hancock Building Adumbrated by Fog

John Hancock Building Adumbrated by Fog

Lights on the River

Lights on the River

As I crossed the Chicago River, a furtive smile stole across my face as I anticipated my encounter with him, and wondered what would be the outcome.

I arrived at the Park Hyatt, a glamorous structure, and headed up to the bar with a seductively familiar spark firing from my thighs up through my belly. I found Scott at the bar with a Hendricks Martini, up, no olives, and ordered a Hendricks and tonic for myself. Our glances met for the first time in forever and the rising energy in me intensified. Regardless of the searing jealousy which tinged the overwhelming (and near constant) sexual desire I felt for him, we attempted some fucked up semblance of a friendship. We made stupid conversation about his conference, and my day in the city while we guzzled the cucumber gin and feigned platonic. After I don’t remember how many cocktails, around the time the night began to adumbrate into half-memories, I asked if I could charge my iPod in his room. It wasn’t a spurious request, but it was a terrible fucking idea. The next thing I truly recall is leaving the room in a fury of enmity and tears, with a vituperative taste lingering on my tongue. I headed to Wicker Park.

The short cab ride took me to the Double Door and I was exited to hit the street in my five-inch heels anxiously anticipating some local indie flavor. Much to my dismay, just moments after my midnight arrival, the last band played their final song. Dejected but restive, I went outside to smoke a cigarette, and asked the fellow smokers where I could see some gritty Chicago music on a Wednesday night. A less-than-respectable looking young man wearing two nose rings and a “demon cassette” t-shirt offered to show me around. Sold. Being the consistently cautious person that I am, I hopped into a taxi with the anonymous reprobate and we headed onwards.

Me n' Random Mike

Me n' Random Mike

Mmm...blues

Mmm...blues


The night was a blur of cocktails and strangers, and the memories of Scott easily escaped me as we made our way from one bar to the next. Unfortunately, the man I assumed to be utterly dissolute was actually quite the gentleman and refused to take me to any real Chicago blues for fear of exposing me to a shady neighborhood. Needless to say, we ended up in the most touristy blues bar I have ever encountered. It was more well-lit than a Wal-Mart and sardine-canned with forty-somethings in colorful polos and khaki shorts. All that aside, they were playing some great blues in that joint. After a few hours of random encounters with intriguing strangers, we started on the road back to the Silversmith. My impromptu tour guide and I got into one of those cab rides you never remember, but don’t exactly forget. We cut out of the cab a bit early and walked along the sands of Lake Michigan, talking the way strangers do, with the lights undulating in the lazy tides.
A perfect end.

A perfect end.

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