aspiciat

a girl in her city, watching the sunset

Dear Los Angeles: A love letter

You waited for me.  You didn’t wait in the sense that you sat in the back room, looking out the window at the road upon which I would prodigiously return.  You waited like my mother did, going about her life and times, doing the work she deemed necessary to prepare for those eventualities she could  foresee.  You did not sit in a rocking chair on the porch.  You grew, too, as I did.  I came back to you filled out.  I had gone back to work in the mean time, learning that I could; I had grown fat, mistaking it for happiness.

Had I not spent years cowed, I would not have glimpsed you in the glory I did as I stretched my back  to stand straight, and tipped my neck  to look up and upon you.

I wrote to someone on 10 January that you love me “like the filthy slut I am, and thank fuck someone does.”  I didn’t send that postcard.  It’s taped to my wall, now.  In my apartment.

See, with you, City, I have these far-reaching arms and my wings are only metaphorical.  I no longer suffer them clipped and mangled, or twisted and broken in someone’s fist.  With you, Heart of my heart, I can be twelve feet tall in my aspiration and still see my feet on the ground.  I walk by LACMA so frequently, smiling as I do so, because it’s right there.  Right up the street.   Half mile walk from where I live now.  (And again.)

I came to you to kiss you on the cheek,  just a glance that was supposed to last a mere 8 days.  I scheduled your bus routes and free admission days at museums, I calendared your beautiful buildings and I made a list of what attractions might be attractive.

But there was a time and a place that got priority in my agenda.  Nothing else fucking mattered if I couldn’t make this particular date.

On the doorstep of the ocean, at sunset.  I figured out had to be that Friday.  The sixth of January.  I put my hands in the water, I smelled the salt.  This is my smell.  This is the smell of birth.  My bare feet in the sand, shoes set up on the beach a ways.  There was nothing unusual about the setting of the sun that night.  He sank into the ocean as he does dailynightly.  Except this thing: this was my homecoming.  Long years apart, I drew myself up the whole length of my spine and I felt my belly boil with renewed strength.  Who I am is here.  It is this: delighting in the noise, the omnipresence of dirt, that people talk to me, that I can smile and laugh despite the uncertainty of this decision: I am not leaving.

I am home.

So I stayed with you.  A friend told me hard decisions sometimes take a long time to come around to being the right decision, and difficult would be the path.  He also called me brave.   But I see you as my bravery.

Since returning, I have learned the smell of night-blooming jasmine.  Since returning, I have regained the love of the baristas at the same coffee shop that gave me free drinks 7 years ago.  Since returning, I have shed three sizes.  Since returning, I have started dating and discovered that I am sexy, yep.  Since returning I have made shit work out.  In the last ninety days I have been able to say I am on my own and had no sword of Damocles threatening.  I am beholden to no one, for anything but to report I am doing my best, I am doing well, I am still only sure that this is all things yes.

If I could fuck the sidewalks as evidence of my gratitude, I would.

With all fondness, sincerity and kisses,
h

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