These Bastard Echos
This towns got a strange hold over me. This is where I grew up. It’s where I let my line out, trying to understand how much I could get away with in this world. Trying to understand where and what the limits were. What does right and wrong really mean, to me? This is the place I first tasted life’s intoxications. Excess, danger and desire. It really is a beautiful city to look upon, particularly as your flying away from it on a plane..
I doubt I’ll ever come here and not feel the pull of the past. The parks I knocked around in as a school kid, my tedious places of employment or the setting to some tumultuous teenage love story. I’ll always feel the pang of a memory that connects these lasting landmarks to those times.
I left years ago, and still its so visceral. The room in my psyche where the lessons reside, stacked in silent sentry to compose a tenuous skeleton of self identity. They flare like embers down every side street. So much history here. Moments that might mean next to nothing nowadays, but at one point could have killed me. In some cases very nearly did.
I hate this city. I hate it because it reminds me of my faults. Of the long road walked to get to where we’re going. It holds a tribute to the pitfalls of youth and gives sanctuary to the ghosts of growing up fast. Growing up wrong. They still live here, in this city. I turned my back on this place years ago now, trying to move beyond it all. A man should be able to leave the past behind, providing he never intentionally caused harm to another. Never intentionally…
For the most part, I think I have... moved on. But here, at ‘home’ they persist. They will forever haunt these streets, these hotels, these playgrounds. They stand on balconies and leer down at me, smoking pilfered cigarettes while nursing the wounds of drunken back alley brawls. I am better than you now, I know this… and still their judgment causes me discomfort. They flaunt their limitless potential, their dreams still so certain, yet far from met. The lowest rung with the highest hopes.
Bravado. I knew her once.
These bastard echos. They whisper of death. Of times changing, passing and slipping away. They live forever in their prime. The invincible ignorant. They live here forever, while I may come and go. They taste and touch with fumbling fingers, always for the first time, on repeat. I chase their scent and hate them for it. I hate them because they abandoned me.
And so, spitefully, fearfully – I did the same to them.
I approach them today with fresh intention. I made the first step to reach out. Its been awhile. I have come today to seek them out, not from any motivation but curiosity. And maybe a dreamers hope for reconciliation. I ask forgiveness of my children who linger in the past... and offer it freely in return.
I love them, though they make me sad. It is my fate to do what they never will. I will have to die.
I trudge towards that inescapable, undeniable truth, leaving shadows by the roadside. Shadows with my name. I grow thin and spill my passion on the places I have stood so that they may hold these little empires ever after. I grow tired and thirsty, rough and callused…
Nothing is ever like the first time anymore. Do you remember? Can you recall the way it felt to fall in love. The first time... The worst and most potent. We knew it was eternal… well…
This town has a strange hold over me. I doubt it will ever let me leave. Not while my shadows prowl the alleyways wielding brown paper bags, howling merriment into the crisp night air, always one misstep from complete upheaval. Not so long as they make their plans for the future from a mattress on the floor. Plans that don’t include me, and likely never could. Not really. Plans that never die. I love you for that.
And I’m sorry.