October 4, 2010

a wistful pang.

I have this habit of loving cities like best friends.

I live in a place and fall madly in love with it: I learn about its past and its present and its dreams for the future. I learn all of its secrets, all the tiny corners of its heart. I open myself up to it, fill myself up with it, come to quite literally define myself by it. 

And eventually, inevitably, the city becomes a real character in my life.

Each day, of course, I feel lucky to be in Chicago. She's my childhood best friend, the one with so much heart and so much spirit, the one who knows all my innermost secrets. This city is energetic. It's historic. The people are hardworking and compelling and unaffected. I love the skyscrapers and the lakefront and the fast-paced flow of the streets. I love all the brick and the green and the famous, fabulous food. I love the way everyone seems to be united, the way friends are treated like family. 

I love Chicago. Adore it. I really, really do.

And yet.

I miss how lighthearted and carefree San Diego is, the way she's always in good spirits. I miss the sand and the salty air and the clean smell of the ocean. I miss the hills and the palm trees and the way the sun teases you, playing hide-and-seek all morning until she finally sticks around in the afternoon. I miss the warmth and the calm, all the quiet and all the color. 

And Oxford... oh, Oxford... I miss its melancholy moods, the rain and the cobblestones. I miss the castles and the hidden alleyways and the way everything seems to be tucked away, waiting to be found. I miss the grey and the green and the tall spires. I miss the corner cafes and the dark, musty bookstores. I miss the city's intelligence, its sincerity, its unmistakable, storybook sort of enchantment.

... I miss these cities every day. Yes--every single day.
I miss them with an ache. I miss them with a wistful pang.

Nostalgia nudges itself into my chest as I glance at my shelf full of knick knacks, the one lined with postcards from Mission Beach and La Jolla and Oxford Castle that say wish you were here.

And I wish I was.
Oh how I wish I was.


Alyssa said... [Reply to comment]

Thats really lovely you look at them like a friendship, i have never looked at them that way. But when you know so much about a place I guess in the end its a secret friendship no one can destroy!

Even though you miss the other places, just remember like old friendships you can be apart for a very long time and the moment you are reunited its like you never left :)

Googlover/keishua said... [Reply to comment]

I think places shape us and become characters in our life. Every place I have lived means a lot me and feels like a long lost friend.

Heidiopia said... [Reply to comment]

Interesting post, LM! Got me thinking about all the cities I've lived in or spent time in over the years. I think sometimes in addition to missing the place itself, maybe we miss that time or phase in our life as well. :)

T.RIPPY said... [Reply to comment]

This post struck me--born in raised in San Diego, I recently moved to the North Shore of Oahu. While full of beauty and magic...my heart aches for my home city. Your description of San Diego is so beautiful, so true. Thank you!

Wild and Precious said... [Reply to comment]

i totally hear you... however, i only really love nashville as far as living. i could love seattle.. yet it is just too far away from family.

i wish i had a fly anywhere as often as you like golden ticket!!

Jen said... [Reply to comment]

I'm so glad you mentioned Chicago! I love that city. So much energy and so much excitement. Hmmm... maybe Jen needs to make a move to IL?? ;-)