I’m A Stranger in My Own City

On my first day back, I took BART into the city. I stood inside Montgomery station and stared with my mouth open, trying to discern if anything had changed. I walked briskly, not wanting to run into anyone but doing so anyway.

Someone had turned the Financial District upside down, shook out everything that didn’t hold, and re-packed it. I remembered it as a playground of fine men in suits, but I only saw fine suits on men. Though the city has no shortage of beautiful women. The beautiful women here are the nicest. They have brown wavy hair and smile at you as you walk by. They have tattoos down their arms and ride their bikes to farmers’ markets on the weekends. They take their lunch breaks in the park, laying down a blanket on the grass before opening their bodies to the sun.

I watched the young professionals as they rushed to work and wondered if they knew where they were headed. I meandered through the intricate grid of the Financial District and saw the streets of Shanghai laid atop San Francisco. Maybe I should put down some roots, somewhere. It’d be nice. Living out of a suitcase is beginning to lose its allure. I could stay here and let the city slowly suck the life out of me. No, I better keep moving, from city to city, staying long enough to know the streets but not so long that leaving becomes impossible. Just so the question of “where are you from” becomes impossible to answer.

Ask me where I’m going instead, that I can tell you.


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