Baby steps

by Chris Fitzpatrick (Australia)

A leap into the unknown USA


2pm Sunday and I'm settled in at a table on the 16th floor of Chicago's Trump Tower looking out over the lake and the city's skyscrapers, next to the 1920's Art Deco Chicago Tribune and the Gothic Wrigley and Prudential buildings. The lake and sky are sparkling pale to deep blues. It's a glorious day. I’d just come up for a coffee but an excellent buffet lunch is on offer with a complimentary Bellini included… can I refuse? Fortunately I had a light breakfast today! Feeling very comfortable and relaxed dining alone, I’m eating sushi and fresh prawns. I'm starting to enjoy the freedom of pleasing only myself and having the opportunity to do as I please at whim. I came to Chicago for a week but have now extended it another week. Women's Liberation has taken on another meaning for me. Having had the best partner who empowered, encouraged and supported me, I can now have the best as a single woman. With the wisdom of hindsight I can see that he was a great choice (wasn't I clever- good looks & lust can be good judges after all), and will be very difficult to replace (but I like challenges). In fact I think I probably wore him out, so it would take another brave and exceptional man to take me on........ I have just enjoyed rare, melt in the mouth herb encrusted beef with jus and grained mustard, with perfectly crunchy asparagus and carrots, and a crisp lettuce salad with beetroot and goats cheese dressing. I feel privileged to be in the position to do what I'm doing. My fear is to live a life of ordinariness and being bored and boring. I love the opportunities this trip is giving me: challenging me; being open to others differences and opinions; feeding my soul with art, music, dance & theatre; learning about a culture I had thought was the same as mine but now know is so different; stimulating my mind; giving me the time to contemplate my next art projects and work; meeting new people; and learning about myself..... all without having a backstop. Hmm I think I'll do these sorts of lunches more often while I'm not living in an apartment. It's a good opportunity to have vegetables and superb food. It takes a while in each new city to find cafes and restaurants I like. Feeling veeeery relaxed here now with the Bellini. Think I'll try some dessert. Wow. Huge selection of 'tastes'. I've just eaten a slice of heaven (who said there's no god. Oh, me! Well I now think she's a dessert chef at the Tower). A delicious tiny chocolate cupcake with coffee frosting - eat your heart out, I probably am! and a shot glass with poached peaches topped with an orange 'cappuccino'. Even the latte is perfect with cheese, fresh tiny black grapes and fruit bread. Hmm I can see it's been a while since I've been on a good dinner date.... Looking forward to a few with friends in Vegas, and Catherine in New York. Now I'm missing those lazy, hazy long alfresco lunches in Oz.... not just the food but the laughter, conversations and the company of friends. 553 words I wrote this in 2010, three years after I suddenly lost my husband of 38 years.