Jon sits down in the leathery chair. Removes his blue cottony in-patient gown. Folds his arms, crosses his legs.
Not a privileged life. Not a hard life. A happy life.
We grew up on the South Side, in the dimming blocks east of Comiskey. Mom was a paralegal, and Dad managed the local fish market on South Halsted. Things were usually tight, from what I can remember. But I think we were ok…living the Chicago dream.
The Chicago Dream?
Something I’ve made up, coined. Can I even do that?
The fucking creative process.
The fucking therapeutic creative process.
Once I left Chicago, I realized how damn perfect it was. We were broke, nowhere near comfortable, but my parents worked like two stray dogs. They sold themselves to industry, to corporate America, to two imaginary college funds.
Did you ever feel…left out or different because of your family’s financial constraints?
We didn’t always get what we wanted, but we got what we needed. And that seemed like enough. But, I knew some kids, spoiled rotten. Of course, I remember that time in eighth grade when I needed the new Hendrix album— probably because everybody had it, not because I was particularly versed in musical culture, or anything like that. Simply the fourteen year-old in me grabbing at straws to fit in. I learned my lesson. The hard way. And didn’t get that Hendrix album until the next summer—and everybody had moved on to Zeppelin by then. But I couldn’t tell my parents that.
It seems like you were a pretty mature eighth grader, Jon.
We were a funny kind of family. The kind you could always count on to be dysfunctional. Because every family has their bullshit to endure, right?
We all like to believe that we have it worse than everyone we know.
The grass is always so green.
Appreciative of your accent, Doctor.
I tried running away a few times. And after the first couple of tries, my parents just started leaving the doors unlocked. I guess they always knew I’d come back.
Did you? Always come back, Jon?
I was gone for fifteen years.
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