• Emily Coralyne

So long, San Francisco.


I didn’t know I was being taken to Twin Peaks until, all of a sudden, I had the whole city in my sight, with the ocean on the horizon. I asked my friend if maps had taken us this way to get back to where I was staying that night… and he said no, that he had taken us this way. A chance for me to glimpse at a city that I loved one last time before I officially left it, with all of my things… before I changed my address, my cinemas, my stores.

As soon as I got out of the car, tears streamed down my face… And I realized I was fully grieving. Grieving a city I had claimed, a city I had come to love, a city that initiated me in my twenties, a city I learned how to survive in, teetering on thriving but not quite.

With me, a man that I didn’t have to worry about accepting, deflecting, or diminishing the emotion coming through me. His arm around me a gesture that brought gratitude, and mixed with my grief was overwhelming thanks. Thanks that I had, despite the several relationships with men that ended in messes, developed relationships with many others that I could trust and rely on, that were generous… that I could tell loved me with a certain grace. Like the grace that told Jeremy to bring me to Twin Peaks so that I could bear witness to a city that had loved me, grown me, hazed me, initiated me, as the full moon rose over it, exactly four years after I was on my way West.

As we walked, waves of grief and gratitude came as I identified the different sections of city where I had lived and loved, prayed and screamed, fucked and frolicked.

I could point out all the places I had come to know. And I felt the part of me that finally felt ready to know more but also knowing that the space to know more is for the place I have known for much longer. The place that calls me back, a place called home.

So goodbye for now San Francisco, thanks for inviting me in. It was good to get to know you.

Goodbyes by Pablo Neruda

Goodbye, goodbye, to one place or another, to every mouth, to every sorrow, to the insolent moon, to weeks which wound in the days and disappeared, goodbye to this voice and that one stained with amaranth, and goodbye to the usual bed and plate, to the twilit setting of all goddbyes, to the chair that is part of the same twilight, to the way made by my shoes.

I spread myself, no question; I turned over whole lives, changed skin, lamps, and hates, it was something I had to do, not by law or whim, more of a chain reaction; each new journey enchained me; I took pleasure in places, in all places.

And, newly arrived, I promptly said goodbye with still newborn tenderness as if the bread were to open and suddnenly flee from the world of the table. So I left behind all languages, repeated goodbyes like an old door, changed cinemas, reasons, and tombs, left everywhere for somewhere else; I went on being, and being always half undone with joy, a bridegroom among sadnesses, never knowing how or when, ready to return, never returning.

It’s well known that he who returns never left, so I traced and retraced my life, changing clothes and planets, growing used to the company, to the great whirl of exile, to the great solitude of bells tolling.

#travel #transition #grief

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