Being Crushed By A City



Tarun Ram

I think I’m in love with every city I don’t currently live in, which is embarrassingly telling about me, but I did love this city and did crazy things like look at apartments in this city and look at jobs in this city and figure out ways to mold myself into what I thought would fit best in this city — even though I had never, up until it was officially not my city, wanted to be there before. It is not my city, no matter how badly I wish it were. I would whisper on the phone to N that I was going to move to this city and she would shout back all the reasons why that would be a bad idea. I have lived in cities that were gentle to me (I got bored) and I have lived in cities that challenged me (unsustainable with how competitive I am) and I have lived in cities that made me want to be anywhere other than where I currently was (do I need too much?), so I thought maybe this city would be a good fix for everything going on. I get sucked into this mentality where I decide this one arbitrary external thing is going to be what solves everything else and it is never true (see: that one fluffy sweater, just one more can of Coke (not diet), a job I will ultimately never apply for), but I really felt for this city. I dreamt about the city, I wrote about the city. I feel embarrassed by how vulnerable the city ultimately made me feel — how it coaxed secrets out of me and made me feel like I would be accepted and made me feel like I could be brave for living there. I thought I could build a home there. And now it feels like the city was entangled in so many aspects of my life up until now that I can’t let go of it. It’s always out there — I will overhear it in a conversation (I am listening for it), I will see it on a map (always always always because I am looking for it), and I will think about it (on purpose, to hurt my own feelings). I am in a different city, and it’s fine, but I wonder if it’s bad that I’m always just thinking about the other one and wondering when (if) I can move there instead. TC mark



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