I always thought it was you; you never thought it was me. You looked like the real, perfect fit—in your streets, I was free. I would stare at your buildings in awe. I used to take the T by the mall. Every land was a show—there was nothing better than coming to your streets.
You were the physical confirmation that everything I had been sold many times in movies and TV shows existed—a cosmopolitan American world, full of ethnicities, full of freedom, full of choices.
I saw you dressed in snow. I’ll never feel the same love I did when I shoveled that old, front porch. I saw you wrapped up in humidity and heat; at some point, it seemed that the sun was never going to stop lightening you.
I felt your rain coming down on my cheeks while getting to work. I saw you in all colors through a bus window, and I thought, “This is the only place that can break me into a million pretty pieces and then fix it right up.”
All of a sudden, I was anchored to this place I wasn’t from. I thought I was a champion—even with nothing, I had already won.
Now, I feel there’s nothing sadder than talking about you. I stumbled into a dream when I met you. Maybe getting to know you was a mistake.
I followed all the paths taken. I got off the rails a couple of times, found some treasures by mistake and others because I hunted them day in and day out. I needed to understand how the city was laid out, like a real Bostoner would. I wanted to know where I was—to feel like I belonged.
It just took a library card to prove me wrong. I saw a guy’s forgotten library card, and after I gave it back to him, after I saw the card’s colors and the information in it, I immediately burst out crying because of all it represented—a whole community that I could perceive in all possible ways but which I could never be a part of.
You were the perfect place to grow old in.
I’ve been called by my two names in your city—you don’t remember because you’re full of people, but it seems I can’t forget you. I wish I could hear you say my name the same way I say yours. You make me feel my body is inside out, that my world is upside down.
I wanna get to you because the healing process of moving past you is hard. There are pieces of me that someone might find; they can keep it. I hope they never take it out of you—it will help me breathe to know some part of me is still there.
I’m not there, but my bones are—the tiny parts of me, the most beautiful parts of me that no one else will ever see are there. I hope that when I’m finished with this healing, someone can tell me they found my missing part and is right there, in Boston, resting calmly on the streets, right where I want to be forever.
Only that will help me sleep at night, knowing that a part of you hasn’t forgotten me the same way I’ll never forget you.
Boston, I love you, and I can’t even say it in your language, so I’ll go with adieu.
In our next life, maybe the word will be bonjour—every day, bonjour.