It's a really old city, stuck between the dead and the living

Okay. Let’s call it a place. People and things are too hard to talk about, but a place is more vague. A place is less personal. You can walk away from it, but still go back and visit someday.  

This place feels familiar and strange at the same time. It’s a city, and during the day it’s bustling with people who have purpose in their stride, but at night the darkness explodes with gunshots and at dawn my alarm is the sound of sirens. It snows a lot in this place but I actually kind of love the snow because it blankets the city in this white perfection—at least until the snow melts into dirty slush that piles up on the curbs.

I’ve memorized the map of this city. The roads haven’t changed in years and I know the street names by heart, but new shops have started popping up everywhere and just the other day I visited my favorite café only to find that it, too, was closing soon. There was nothing special about their coffee, but I really liked its down-to-earth atmosphere. And the view from the table in the corner.  

Most of the friends that I met here years ago have already gotten new jobs and are trickling out of town, but I haven’t had any reason to leave. It’s beautiful, this city, it really is. But for some reason every time I try to take a picture of the skyline, the camera just can’t seem to capture what I see. It’s as if this place is cursed with a beauty that can’t last.  

I know I should leave this place. I want to run off to the West coast where the skies are always sunny and the cities are alive, but the truth is, this place is my home. I want to run off, but there is nowhere to run, because this place isn’t even a place. It’s the past.

And no matter how many days or months or years I put between it and myself—no matter how much I don’t belong there anymore—I’ll always live in this place. Despite the gunshots, despite the snow, despite my missing café... I will always live in the past. 


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