Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Open City

I have no particular mission in mind as I walk the streets. But as I go by the unchanged buildings plucked out of my memory, part of me feels like it is almost taunting them for a response: I have come here unarmed, and don't mind if the past defeats me; I am just curious how far along I have gone in this game. Each footstep into a prior battleground however sees no victor either way. Sometimes, there is a brief moment where I feel my throat constricting as I recall some forgotten horror, but it usually passes quickly. Most times, there is hardly any reaction at all, just a mutual acknowledgement of continued existence. I'm not naive enough to call that a victory, but from where I was three years ago, a truce is good enough.

Though they do not mind my presence, I can feel that I have become a stranger to the streets that were once a home. There is nothing beyond the reach of time, I conclude, but not with sorrow; at least, not today. Today, I'm just glad to be able to walk the streets with no expectations. I don't have particular illusions about all of this signalling anything significant. But the tangible proof that life can go on, both for me and my onetime tormentor, leaves a trace of hope I'm not above being grateful for. My heart feels lighter, having to carry around one less burden. For a moment, though I'm just a stranger walking alone, the future seems a wide open space.