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Portrait of Michael No. 2 (Snow Storm), 2015
Portrait of Michael No. 2 (Snow Storm), 2015
Archival pigment print
24 x 30 in

“I wonder when it will be cold again. I know it’s coming even if the white-out snow storms that I remember from living in Chicago are far away. I remember those winter juggernauts. I am not scared of them. I didn’t experience one till my first year of college. I was going to O’hare to pick up the person who would come to be the first person I ever fell in love with. There at the airport in the middle of January and we were caught in the middle of one of those infamous white-out Chicago blizzards. They call it white-out because every trace of color and shade is obliterated by the snow, painted by it, and erased.
She had just flown in from the archipelago in the middle of the Pacific where she had grown up and here she shows up and suddenly nothing is green and everything is cold. We got in the first cab we saw eager to seek the cover of our building where in bed we would melt into each other. We didn’t have a clue that we were about to be on the ride of our lives; we didn’t know that only minutes later we would blindly slide through a snow storm, ice skating across a major freeway. That cab slid its way toward The Loop like a toboggan on rails. The storm was so big that even the Sears Tower was buried in snow.
We couldn’t see out the windows except for brief glimpses of cars in the other lanes careening toward us like wobbling bowling balls. We were freshman in college and we couldn’t stop kissing and looking at one and other like we had just been married. Though we felt intensely alive and somehow safe because after the long winter break we were finally together there was still some vestige of reality left in us that let us know that in we knew we weren’t. It was clear that the cab driver wasn’t in control of the car and that neither were the other equally insane motorist driving on that arctic freeway. Secretly we both knew that we were going to die but I think that by being so close to each other in proximity to death that we were armed with that primal desire to live and fall in love. I still haven’t ever felt that again where dying doesn’t matter as long as you die with your lover at your side. So I am not scared of snow storms. I am not scared of shut-in-the-house can’t-leave-forever weather because I know that when you’re happy with somone their threat can help you fall in love. That’s the potential of winter in Chicago and like spring, when it comes, I know that people will start to fall in love again. Ride safe.”

-Esteban Schimpf