the city

One last look.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for.”, she said. As I slowly walked away from her desk. Life is all about last looks, this one was no exception.

I imagined myself doing different things with my life. Going on different adventures, then what was happening before me. I never imagined coming back home. I never thought that failing was an option. As I always do, I picked myself up and started over. Starting over by going home until I come back to this fucking city.  I am going home to regroup then come back to this town to be somebody. Anybody then the person I was before. Not the broken person I was when I came here.

Big cities don’t take to kindly to lonely hearts. Broken people don’t always find what they are looking for. But I will be the exception. The exception to the rule.

I walked away from her office and watched the room glitter with the sunlight. The same golden color. The same sparkle from the afternoon sun. What I would give to be outside  but instead, I am saying goodbye to everything that was familiar.

Life doesn’t prepare you for goodbyes. Life doesn’t prepare you for last looks and the words that haunt you after. Instead, you move forward and hope for the best. Praying, wishing, hoping, that all of this will be a distant memory. Just another story to add in the book of life.

It’s been six years since I have been back. Six years and I still feel like like a visitor in my hometown. This doesn’t feel like home but neither did that big city. Which is why I felt the need to burn my bridges and watch them crumble behind me.

Yet, those words haunt me.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

As I make another last look through the glistening rays of the sun behind me.

One day I will. Someday soon.

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Tobacco and Peppermint

He didn’t smoke. But everyone else around him did. It was so easy back then to make conversation. Just standing next to a shivering person in the cold, asking for a light. It didn’t matter much to him. He didn’t smoke and everyone else around him did. He would just keep the conversation going.

He’d say things that I would find absolutely fascinating. Stupid things that I think back upon years later. How easy the lines flowed from his tongue. Captivating a shivering crowd just keeping warm from a storm. How he loved lines like “Tobacco and Peppermint”, how each item went well as a before and after thought.

Things about him made him seem off. He didn’t drive. After having his license revoked from driving recklessly in his hometown, he relied on other people to get him where he needed to be. Things I understood. Everyone drove me around and driving always seemed like an after thought. Stupid things I still remember. Why do I still remember these things?

They could have been twins. The same sentiments, the same sense of humor. They couldn’t have been more alike. His only downfall was a dry sarcastic humor that people believed made him a genuinely likable person. We saw through that. Making jokes and calling him every name under the sun. He was not the sun, but how he acted like he was. I don’t know why I thought of him today. Or why after ten plus years, he seems to creep into my mind. But when my head hurts I think of the last time my head hurt. How weather changes my emotional state and it comes back to him.

I always wanted to say goodbye, but I never had a chance to. I wanted to say so many things but every word came out wrong. Tongue tied with wanting to say the right thing but every word tying together and  coming out wrong. I find myself talking to him in dreams in cities far from my hometown.  In dreams the words flow out easily then they do in my waking day. Some days, it’s easier to see people in dreams then in my waking day.  Instead I left a space for other people to fill with words and stories. I live off the adrenaline of other people’s stories. The words that flow so easily off their tongues. When I am left tongue tied with goodbyes.

Tobacco and Peppermint. How I tend to think of that line often.

I think of that crowded bar and watching bands play. How easy they made it seem. How their emotions came out in song and I still struggled to express myself. How the room was muggy and how none of it mattered. The rain poured down and I see you walk with her. Hand in hand not thinking anyone was watching. Just as you walked through the door your hands break apart. Gone back to reality and gone to different ends of the room.  Why was I so fixated on that moment. Why that memory about everything else. How poetic it seemed to see people walk in from the rain and break apart once they found shelter. For a moment they were each others shelter, until the real world settled in. That night creeps back to my mind once the weather changes. When I think of rainy days and crowded rooms; finding shelter from storms.

How the singer of a band came up to ask for the time, and stood and stared at a button on my coat. Almost waking me from my haze of dream state. We both became silent for a minute. Maybe in that moment we were both in that dream state. Trying to find the words in waking day. Or maybe he was just staring at a button on a coat of girl that reminded him of something else.

You can have it?, I said
Really?, he replied.
Yeah. it’s just a button.

I handed him the button.
While, he stood and watched.

Tobacco and peppermint.
Before and after thoughts.

 

San Francisco, CA 2003

I left my heart in San Francisco.

I left my heart in San Francisco, but you still haunt the streets. It’s hard to imagine a living person could haunt your waking day, but you do. Your ghosted memories are trapped beneath the steps, where we once held hands, and believed the city was ours. Beneath the street lights and cable cars, where you once said she meant more to you then I ever could. It was always someone else, and someone else loving you more than I ever could. I could never compete. Maybe you were right, because loving a person more than I ever could, would never be right.

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The city I once felt solidarity with was slowly tearing me apart. Keeping images of you, every step that I turned. I watched as the days when you left, turned to months. As my tears vanished into the misty fog, that swallows this city in the under belly of the sun. There are flowers in my hair and the drinks are endless to drink you goodbye. But you stand before me on the steps I take to rid myself of you. You walk toward me in the sounds of a haunting melody on the streets. You wait for me on the hilltops of the parks where we once said, this could never be over. I find myself retracing my steps back to find you. Its what you do, haunt the ones you could never love to love you more than she ever could. I was a fool to believe I could. Believe that I could love anyone as much anyone else could.

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This city traps you in believing in things that no longer exist. The ghosts of you and me roam the streets, but slowly I see us vanishing into the misty fog haze that wraps around this city. Maybe I never loved you as much as she did, but for a moment I thought I could. I wanted to love you as much as I loved this city. How the chill in the air could seep to your bones and make you feel alive. How the people could go everywhere and still return to that city by the bay. For a moment I believed that we could go our separate ways and find ourselves right back into this city. I was wrong. Sometimes you have to leave your heart in places you love the most. To rid yourself of believing in people that are now haunted ghosts in your memory.

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How could I leave my heart in a city so grand and yet find you still haunting the steps I walk upon. Every step I take you’ve already taken. Every bus line, every train stop, a memory of you floats back into my memory. I left my heart on the doorsteps between the city and here. I left you reciting back words that stay etched inside the walls of every sky scraper I see in my mind. This city had to show me. I had to watch you fall in love with girls that only break your heart. But here in this city is where I leave you. Here in this city is where I leave my heart.

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There will always be people after you. People I will love that will love me more than I ever could. But these days I go searching the streets of the city to find what I left so long ago. Find what I fell in love with before and after you left me. Its this city that transplants your heart back to life and I can never love anything else. I left my heart in San Francisco but you no longer haunt the streets.

My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco
Your golden sun will shine for me

5/5/2012