Thursday, April 24, 2014

pittsburgh letter 1

Dear city,

Tonight I was walking on Forbes Avenue. I looked up and noticed white blooms on a young tree--this was pressed to a sky preparing for dusk. This moment, with my legs still striding, hit me in the gut. It was my first real, painful moment of missing you. Or beginning to miss you. I'm not even gone yet. I don't know if I've been playing it cool or if I'm extremely skilled at shoving those emotions of separation down into my feetbeds, ignoring them until they rise and spill. Maybe I am caught up in the surreal feeling of leaving a place I've known as home for almost thirteen years.

There on the street my heart sank. I've grown up with departure and goodbyes--absence feels threaded through my back bone at times. I say this knowing that our time together is done. I say this knowing, eventually, we will both get used to not being there together, as a human and their environment. You, dear city, will cease to be my background. I will know your roads until I don't anymore.

So many of my memories are tucked safely within your walls and non-walls. Ghosts of places no longer there, like Duke's bar or Metropol or Teleropa. The dead end shortcut past piled apartments by the house on Maripoe--the rooftop there, where still a pair of initials rest in octagonal shingle. Or that terrible drunk band that slid into our booth at Dee's, or Roz fixing me up the hangover special(3 orders of potatoes, all on one plate). Many, many moments on sidewalks and late nights and backyards. There is stuff I can never take back. Fireworks on the bridge, my cat on the neighbor's roof. Dear city you own so much of me. I will keep what I know of you with me, always. I will remember all the things I learned during your terrible winters, the warm souls I was fortunate enough to know and hold, all those bus moments that don't really belong anywhere--years of taking that thing, all the bodies in seats and standing. The way the sun would come in the windows on the 77 after work.

I felt it tonight--the reality of departure. Thirty-seven more days to soak you in, to fill my dance card, to eat all the thai food.
I'll do my best, dear city. I promise you.

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