This is my favorite photo of Nick and me. His brother, Danny took it at the beach on Thanksgiving Day in 2001. I was living in Kansas then.
I miss the West. I miss the beach and the smell of the ocean. My high school creative writing teacher would be laughing if he read this now. I once wrote a poem about how much I hated the ocean. I miss the palm trees and the seagulls (though we do have seagulls in Chicago). I miss the mountains and the dry dessert and the purple sunsets.
There's a kind of romance about going West that I think only American's can feel (unless there's some other country out there with a frontier history like ours). Coming back to the Midwest feels like a step back--like tucking my tail between my legs and retreating. That's not what happened, of course, but that's how it feels--suffocating and heavy. I am not a Chicagolander. I am not a Midwesterner anymore. I may not be a Californian but I am definitely a Westerner.