(This is a relatively old piece of writing. I wrote it on August 2011, but my feelings haven’t changed a bit.)
And the clock turns back, and back, and back in time…on the day you were born. You can’t exactly remember, because your memory isn’t fully developed. But you can recall the laughter, the enthusiasm, the sunshine after the rain, all those mixed feelings that have taken over the room of the hospital.
You’re five, and your parents take you out for a walk, so you can finally see the world with its ugliness and its malice, in a constant fight with its delicacy and its charm. All you expect to see is bloomed gardens, and feel the smell of their perfume baffling your senses. You know it’s going to be like that. You’ve seen it in the cartoons, the world is like a perfectly painted landscape, an artifact of immense enchantment, a masterpiece made of a thousand colors and sounds.
But instead, you see a grey world, with a blinding sun over your head, with no friendly intentions. You see a world made of cement and metal, with a few trees breaking the shades of grey. A world with buildings much taller than you will ever be, willing to swallow you, chain you to their emptiness, entrap you inside their colorless walls. It’s too early for this, but you don’t know it.
Later on, this city, with all this modern essence, its traffic lights being the only manifestation of joy and vitality, is going to be the shelter of your dreams. No matter how much you will hate her with a passion, for not being the ideal landscape you thought it would be, you won’t be able to get away from her. She’s like a woman, a witch that has cast a spell on you, and you cannot escape. It’s all a mind-set. Although this city has proven you wrong, has shown you that all your childhood was made of glass, protecting yet deceitful, you still won’t be able to take your hands off her dirt.
It’s not her beauty that keeps you there. It may be have pretty spots that the human eye has never seen. It may have spectacular landscapes so strategically concealed, so carefully hidden, as if the city is a little kid that so urgently needs to feel cared and loved. A woman that expects you to look for her. A human that needs to feel love like a river flooding through his arteries. And you’re too weak, too conceited to look beyond its shallow ugliness. But you don’t love this city for her beauty. You love her, you so helplessly adore her because it’s the shelter of your dreams, the home of your most loved friends, the harbor of your most cherished memories.
Those people with the faces you vaguely remember, those people you never had the chance to meet but you could easily fall in love with them, for an instant, forever…those people that kept you company when you were drunk, broke, heartbroken, with a knife stuck on your back, feeling a pain so unimaginably great, so overwhelming, that your heart was ready to explode, to break into smithereens…those people that made you laugh, or made you cry, or made you feel sentiments you never felt before, and you owe them a thank you that you’ll never have the chance to say…these are the people you recall, their features ill-remembered, with a touch of nothingness in their expression, since you forgot the color of their eyes, the way their skin moved when they hurt you, or made you happy…
These moments that will never be able to come back and offer you a moment of youth, springing like a fountain in your heart…these moments of laughter, of pain, of disappointment, of enthusiasm, of anger…all those positive or negative notions mixed together, creating a daze that confuses your senses and benumbs you…and you cannot escape because you cherish this insobriety. These moments when you thought that you found the love of your life, or succeeded in something, but in time you were proved terribly wrong, and your heart wanted to die, to stop beating, to find a way to turn off feelings but keep you alive…these are the moments that reside in this city, and in every corner of it, you find a piece of yourself so utterly painfully seeking for a salvation, for a moment back in time.
You wake up with a sense of nostalgia, as your mind flies back when you dreamt of being a good guitarist, an accomplisher sportsman, or, the simplest of all, yet the most profound of all, a happy person. A person that wakes up in the morning and smiles at the broken mirror, a person that knows what matters and what doesn’t matter and can’t help but laugh at people who worry too much. Your mind is so achingly looking for a moment of innocence, when you thought you could do everything at once, be a perfect person and make this world reflect your perfection.
The clock strikes again, reminding you of the fact that you’re travelling somewhere else, in a place where no one knows you, and you know no one. A place where your parents’ warm hands won’t be able to guide you through the arteries. You have to begin all over again, to make a start all on your own, without clinging onto the glories of the past, the experiences that passed like trains before your eyes and disappeared, living a scar on your soul, either painful or pleasing. There is a time when you know that the past is past, that your life hasn’t ended and that you cannot stay in this broken city forever. You cannot hide yourself behind her walls forever, like a little kid protecting itself from the world, by hiding behind his mother’s dresses. This is the truth. But your heart refuses to respond to reality, as if it’s convenient for it to relax in a utopia, where people will always love each other, and know each other well enough not to disturb your harmony.
As you leave your city behind, you silently promise to yourself that you’re going to come back there one day, and let yourself become one with her walls, her traffic lights, her people that walk by you everyday but refuse to take a look at you, her vaguely remembered faces and her never-leaving sun, that still blinds you everytime you look at it…