In the City 

Inday” is a tender word which means precious, dear, loved one. – Leonor Briones 

We have been drinking until the wee hours of the morning. When we finally stumble out into the street, the cab we catch is being driven by an old man. Maybe he’s someone’s beloved grandfather. Maybe he was known and respected in some faraway hometown. But now he’s just a frustrating cab driver who doesn’t know how to get us home.

In the city, you are nothing more than what you can produce. “That’s just reality.” But what about history, what about potential, what about the sleeping dreams and gifts? In some kinder time, the pots of soil would be given a chance to show the bulbs waiting to flower, before they are dumped in the trash. 

The city is like my body – consuming, growing in size, lessening in mobility, sluggish and selfish. 

Once I looked out the window of my building’s penthouse- the only place where the residents can get respite from the incredibly cramped quarters – and saw, on a rooftop below, a garden of greenery. A man watered the flowers and the towering ferns, and a little dog ran around between the racks. And yet, the floors below were lined with cracked and empty windows. 

Out of certain oblivion had come a space to breathe. – Terry Pratchett 

I am writing this in my bed, in my hometown where I had been so unhappy. I have the windows open to the breeze, the curtains drawn back. The sunshine streams like melted butter onto the walls and the floor and my lazy body. In the park outside, my father has planted fruit trees – rambutan, chico, langka, papaya, atis. They may not be the figs, grapes and olives of Provence, but they are sweet and full and taste like home.

In the city I know no one’s history – anyone I meet I will only share my  with for a few years, at most. I am tired of the wandering. I am tired of the superficiality and the empty interactions. 


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