When all is said and done, I love Toronto.
I walked home after midnight from all the way down town and it took me about 45 minutes but it was a beautiful night and a much needed walk. But I realised something. I can never call it home. I’m constantly saying goodbye to the city. Every walk I take, every time I wait for 20 minutes for the TTC, every dinner on the patio of my oldest, first restaurant here, with a glass of wine, every trip to the BMO down the waterfront, I’m always saying goodbye.
I’m storing these memories and I take them out sometimes, “remember when…” It doesn’t matter that I may be leaving tomorrow, or in six months or in two years, I’ve been saying goodbye since I showed up here with two gigantic suitcases and moved into a six-bedroom place.
It’s not the first time I’m like this. I always find that the places I’ve been to or lived in, I’m always saying goodbye to them, even upon arrival.
Cities and towns, places are like ex-lovers.
They’re all different. Some impose themselves on you, insisting that you like them back, even if you are determined to resist like the rough, tough New York City, like London. Some take a little while to get adjusted with its heat and its spice, like Marrakech and Bangkok. Others are shy, letting you make the first move, discovering all of its secrets over days and days of exploring, like Lund and Vientiane. There are those that seemed to just fit with you in an instant, and you may or may not be able to describe it, like Mexico City, like Lisboa and Québec. And then, there are the ones that you never knew you loved until it hits you in the middle of the night, luckily if you are already there or if you are thousands of miles away, like Vienna, like Yogyakarta…
But whenever I am with someone, I am also, always saying goodbye, and maybe that’s why I haven’t really found someone, even though I’m always finding them. It’s not that I don’t appreciate them and sometimes I even fall in love, but there’s always the element of separation hanging in the air.
However, unlike ex-loves, ex-lovers, places always forgive you and, even though not in the same capacity as before, always welcome you back.
(2 March 2008.)