“Dearest, If I told you I love this city, love the way it opens its dirty limbs to me, love the way it absorbs me without noticing me, love the way it gives rhythm to my walk, gives nuance to my skin, gives purpose to my plots, would you be jealous? I know you refuse to be jealous of of people, but I wonder how you would feel if I swear my utter devotion to a place. Tonight, in the bedlam of my long return, after the delayed flight, after the snarled tunnel of traffic, after losing my keys to my suitcase locks, I am reduced to wanting to make you jealous, wanting to make me miss me, wanting to make it harder for you to let me go. I know you want me to want to make it easier. Usually I do. But when you are there and I am here, it’s too easy for me to lose my place. I need to remind us both that before I found you I had a location, if not quiet a life. I need to remember where and who I was so I can discover where and who we are. Like a dream, this map beckons me and eludes me. I try to remember it but even while I am writing it down, it floats up like Dorothy’s balloon and washes me in vibrations of rumbling air.
I remember remembering. I am not always sure if I am remembering my memories, or what formed them. I have told you much of this before. This part is a familiar landscape, an easy narrative description of an uneasy time. It begins: ‘before you, I had no discipline. Like a drunk, I never knew when to quit, always thought more was better. Until there was no more I gave up entirely. I walked the long city streets those long nights longing for a quiet I remembered hearing in the neighbor’s house of my childhood. I never heard it directly in my own house. It was always just a little removed. I remember thinking that if I could somehow get the melody of that silence inside my own body, I would be able to die. Even then I worried I was housed in a body deaf to silence. On those long walks, I listened for it. But the city kept giving me other sounds. The river. The cabs. The tourists. The sirens. The wind. The horns.”