When Charlotte and Chicago first got together, everyone was envious. Chicago was big, dynamic, sparkly, sophisticated and appealed to all of Charlotte’s interests. She’d send emails to her friends about how awesome Chicago was and quietly felt sorry for them that they hadn’t realized the kind of relationship she had with Chicago. With Chicago, Charlotte tried new things, reached new heights and felt certain she had at last found a long-term relationship with a quality partner.
And for many months, Charlotte seemed content. But then she started to notice the subtle signs that something was off. She had gained a few pounds. She was scowling more often. She was always cold. The bottom of her pants were always dirty. She would sweat inside that damn puffy coat but shiver without it. She got dark circles under her eyes and her skin took on an unsavory gray pallor from being held captive inside her condo night after night.
Those who were friends with Chicago defended Charlotte’s relationship. Somehow they saw redeeming qualities: great social life, theater dates, easy transportation, variety, etc. But people who hadn’t met or barely knew Chicago wondered what Charlotte was doing with her life. She complained – a lot – about the lack of sunshine, the gray days and the seeming dearth of green pastures.
Yet again, months would pass and Charlotte would perk up. Her friends thought, “At last, Chicago has started to treat this lady the way she deserves.” She’d become active again. She felt comfortable leaving her home. Charlotte would laugh more often and you could visibly see that she was less stressed. And this would remain…until November.
Over the years, people have reluctantly come to terms with Charlotte’s abusive relationship with Chicago. Time and again, winter after cold, dark winter, she gets beaten up, and yet she returns to Chicago’s open arms each May. The promise of flowers, al fresco dining and sex…I mean SUMMER…lure her back.
Some day – who knows when – Charlotte will probably leave the hot-and-cold, back-and-forth life she’s created in Chicago for a more consistent and mild lifestyle. But for now, cut the girl some slack. It’s June. The running trails are open. The sidewalk cafes are packed. The music from the street fairs is rockin’. It’s clear she’s in love. Let her be – for now. But don’t go too far. She’ll be needing a shoulder to cry on come January.