Road Movie: Chapter 20

“So I’m still debating on which city to move to, out of those four, but I’m definitely leaving at the end of the month,.” The brunette was with Monique again, walking around the Loop. “I’m going to miss you.” The dark haired girl sighed. “Come to think of it, what made you choose Chicago?” “It was just such a cool city for me. I’m originally from Iowa, and there’s not much to do there other than walk through corn fields. So coming to a big city like this, it felt like such a great opportunity. Plus, I get to photograph things that aren’t on a farm for once!” She laughed. “Wow, such a spontaneous move though.” Dakota sighed. “Yeah. I do miss my parents a lot, but I know if I have time to be homesick, then I have time to be exploring and enjoying my life.” Monique grinned. “I’m glad you’re getting more out of your time there than I am.” The brunette smiled. “Well, to each there own!” Monique reasoned.

Walking towards the Lake, Dakota thought about her conversation with Monique. To each their own. She sighed to herself. The very place the brunette felt trapped by, her friend loved and thrived in. It was interesting to think about how differently they viewed Chicago. Dakota felt that Illinois as a whole was holding her back. But Monique saw this as a place for her to thrive and grow. Even though there was a small age gap between the two, Monique seemed to be so much more complacent with her situation. She seemed to be a lot less panicked by the idea of being around this city. Granted, Monique did not have a dead boyfriend that reminded her of this place, but she still had her own grievances in the form of having parents so far away, working every day on a corn farm. It was also just funny to think about how a girl from the suburbs and a girl from the cornfields could become good friends over photography and through living in this city.

“Say, Monique. Do you know the main reason why I want to leave Chicago?” The two were sitting on a bench, watching the waves sway along the shore. “Actually, I don’t.” “So for a long time, I dated a boy named Phillip. He and I got together in 11th grade, but we knew each other since the 7th grade.” Dakota began. “Why haven’t I met him? Did you guys break up or something?” Monique looked at her curiously. “No. He… died in a car crash.” “Oh no…” Concern consumed the graduate student’s face. “It happened back in December. I… am still grieving, and trying to slowly get over it. But this city, we grew up in Illinois and in Chicago together. So almost everything here, it reminds me of him.” She sighed to herself. “It makes sense why you need to get away now. You need space to sort out your feelings.” Monique chimed in. “I’m not saying that the exact same thing happened to me, but I lost loved ones to an accident before too.” “Oh no! What happened?”

It was back when Monique was applying for colleges in high school. She had received a phone call from her parents that her grandmother, the last of her grandparents and the only one Monique had ever met, died in a fire. Nobody knew what caused it, but there were assumptions that with the droughts that were happening in Iowa at that time, the dried crops caught fire, and that wound up consuming her grandma’s entire house. Ever since, Monique knew that she did not want to work on a farm. The idea of being killed by the very things you work for, it was an unsettling feeling for her. Attending her grandmother’s funeral was tough for her, but it made her realize how badly she wanted to leave Iowa and go into a large city. So she chose an easy major to get into colleges for, being Psychology, and then decided to pursue photography on the side, until she had enough of an idea of what sort of photographer she wanted to be.

“I think the biggest thing I’m learning now is how strong we both had to be to get over their deaths. It would be easy to just throw up your arms, give up, and quit, but doing that is not what living life is about. We want to follow our dreams. I know that I want to be a photographer, but what kind, not sure. For you, Dakota, what is it that you want to do?” She looked at the older female. “I know I want to do something expressive. Right now, yes, I’m leaning towards photography. That might change down the line. All I know is that at this very moment, photography relaxes me and makes me happy. So that’s why I continue doing it.” She started to realize something else. No matter how inept she was at something, so long as she had passion for her, she could learn to be good at it. Just stumbling upon this realization made feel like she was less trapped than she felt.

We all can grow and mature. It does not matter how old we are, we can continue to learn new things and gain new insights. Perspectives continue to grow when we interact with others, and gain their opinions and ideas as well. The idea of talking to others, and growing through their experiences, it suddenly dawned on Dakota, that’s one large way for her to overcome her grief. And she knew that by going into a new city, there would be plenty of opportunity to grow. An entire metropolis of people she was waiting to meet and know. To hear about their stories. Maybe that’s another thing to appealed to her about marketing. Hearing their insight, and being able to give her own. The idea of sharing perspectives, memories, thoughts, that was something that spoke true to her.

“You’d think that because I have such a good career and that I look put together, I had life figured out. But nobody can ever figure out life. As soon as we think we do, it changes. It continues to grow and develop with humanity.” Dakota stated aloud to Monique. The two were walking back to their apartments after a day of photographing the entire city. “It’s a very true statement too.” Monique chimed in. “It’s not like an attack on your prior accomplishments, or anything like that, but we can all continue to learn and grow so long as we keep an open mind and not feel like we are being challenged or offended.” The brunette smiled. While she is still planning to commit to moving, she knows that somewhere in the future, returning to this city would not be as painful as she feared it to be. “Even if I’m leaving now, expect me to visit. Maybe not in a year, but I’ll be back.” She promised her friend.

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