Road Movie: Chapter 22

“So you guys both agree that it’s for the best that I leave?” Dakota was on the phone with her parents back at her apartment. “I think it’s good that you learn how to grow and I think you’re done as much growing as you can in Chicago.” Mrs. Logan chimed in. “I still remember when I went to Chicago for work after I graduated the University of Michigan! It felt good to be out of Michigan for once.” Mr. Logan grinned. “Oh, I just remember how we first met.” Mrs. Logan laughed. “If it wasn’t for the city of Chicago, you probably never would have been born, Dakota!” They both chimed in. That was probably a first for Dakota to hear. She knew that they were not saying this as a way to make her stay in the city, however. She interpreted it more along the lines of by them going into a new city, they created opportunity for themselves. “Oh, really, now?” Dakota had known that both of her parents were raised out of Illinois but she did not know much about the exact story of how they met.

Peter Logan was born and raised in Detroit for most of his life, before going to college in the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He originally studied electrical engineering: for him, being an engineer meant being an innovator who got to create things. After graduating, he wound up getting a job working with a hardware development company in Detroit. In the company, he was in charge of doing the circuity for manufacturing equipment. The first few months were a lot of fun for him. Peter learned a lot about creating his own machines and using them to improve the production of equipment. It felt like the right thing for him at the time, because he was allowed to invent things. That’s all he ever wanted to do. Since a young age, Peter Logan was always a right-brained personality. He liked to think outside of the box. His college education helped give him the necessary knowledge to honing in on that inventiveness and create. And that was the secret to his success. Peter Logan was able to create things when he had little to work with.

While he had a successful job, he still felt something was off. He felt trapped, being in Detroit. He was born, raised, and now worked there. It was like he could never leave. So without a second thought, Peter quit his job, and packed up his things. He decided to move to Chicago on impulse, and due to his degree, he was able to quickly get a job as a plumber. While it sounded degrading, he made just as much as he did at the hardware factory, so he was content. Plus, in his job, he was able to get inventive in how he set up the pipes and draining. It might have sounded boring to a lot of people, but being able to see the water flow properly, it was oddly satisfying for him. And while helping the plumbing system at the Art Institute of Chicago, that’s where he came across the most beautiful girl he had ever met. A young art history graduate named Marisa Ellis, who had just been rejected at a job interview.

Marisa Ellis was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She had always been fascinated with history, mostly because she believed that things happened for a reason, and that reason was their precedents. Additionally, Marisa loved art. She appreciated how difficult it was to create something beautiful, and because of that, she went on to become an art history major in Northwestern University. This wound up being a mistake, post-graduation. She struggled greatly to find a job. It was next to impossible for an art history major to find work anywhere outside of art museums. After feeling like she failed another job interview, this time as a curator for the Art Institute of Chicago, she found herself crying on the stairs leading up to the institution’s entrance. And then that’s when she met the love of her life: Peter Logan.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Peter looked at the crying brunette. “I’m sorry. I don’t want anything looking at me like this. It’s just that I’ve graduated from college a few months ago, and I still can’t find a job.” She hiccuped, trying to fight back the tears. “Hey, there, there.” He grabbed a handkerchief and handed it off to her. Blowing into it, she wiped away her tears and looked up at the tall, blonde young man. “My name’s Peter. Peter Logan.” He smiled, sitting down next to her. “Marisa. Marisa Ellis.” “So you recently graduated from college?” He looked over at her. “Yeah.” She sighed. “So did I. What did you study?” “Art history.” “Oh, yikes.” The blonde male cringed at that. It was one of the harder majors to get a job for. “I applied to be curator, but I know that I failed this interview. I spilled my drink on my interviewer. How am I supposed to curate art if I can’t even be careful with a beverage?!” She cried. “There, there. You know, if it makes you feel better, I used to be a successful engineer, but I quit my job, just to come here.” He reassured her. “Wait, you quit your job, just to move to Chicago?” She was stunned. Peter had the opposite dilemma of her: he was hirable, but did not know what he wanted to do.

Peter and Marisa continued talking, and eventually, they fell in love. Marisa wound up getting the job, by some miracle, though she was not complaining. The two of them had successful careers in the city, but decided that it was time to settle down together. So they married, moved to Naperville, and raised Dakota there. It was because they had both chosen to go to Chicago that they met in the first place. Both of them had come from such different places, different backgrounds, and in both of their cases, they broke free from every norm and expectation set for them. Peter, who was firmly rooted in Michigan, studied electrical engineering, and wound up a plumber in Chicago. Marisa started in Wisconsin, studied art history in Chicago, even had a decent career as a museum curator, and ended up becoming a mother.

Hearing about this, it made Dakota feel better about her decisions. Even though she studied marketing and had this focus on medicine, she did not feel like she had to do it anymore if it did not make her happy. Her own father’s example was proof of that. He was happier as a plumber than he was as an engineer. Both of her parents made another place their own home. And they both grew because of it. It was her time to do the same thing. At this point, Dakota was convinced that, while she was still young, she needed to keep learning more about herself, what made her happy, what she wanted to do with her life: not for the rest of it, but for the present. She was not trapped. If anything, she was more free than she realized. “Thanks, mom and dad. I needed to hear that. It really does validate that I need to go out into the world and keep growing somewhere else. And I will find a place to call home. Unfortunately, it won’t be Chicago.”

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