There is a line in The Great Gatsby:
“I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all – Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.”
And I have to wonder if Chicago was my East, and that, in a fundamental way, I was never going to belong there. I feel a wondrous defeat when I think back on my time there. The lights didn’t dim on me, I went down in a spectacular display of hubris and naivety bright as a barnyard fire. It would be too self-serving to assert that the failure of it all shaped me in some profound way, as if mistakes are not fees we must pay but privileges endowed to us. I won’t allow myself to go there, but sometimes, when I am alone, I miss that selfish act of witnessing a destruction, to look on holding the match, my heart making a dubstep racket through my shirt.