First love

My first love was not a man, but a city. A crowded, ugly and dirty city, where people never looked into each other’s eyes except for the occasional glimpse on the way to an exit or the angry stare of a Monday morning commuter, stoned by the small life in their suburb of choice, their souls sold to whatever employer accepting their apathetic being. Living in that sub-city sounded so terrible that my friends constantly urged me to leave and go back, among loving hearts. But that time turned out to be my most cherished memory in a life which did not turn out as I had wished to.

Sometimes my eyes wander out of the office window, well-maintained colourful roofs, in striking contrast with those of my first love, speak of wealth and order. “What was different, then?” I asked my sister the other night. “You were brave,” she told me, as she turned a crêpe in the cooking pan. My heart leaped, and I told myself I should have known better. My sister, the one I shared the room with for the longest time ever, the one I kept at a distance every time I was in trouble because I knew: I cannot lie to her, and she does not lie to me. Again, like so often in the past, she laid the truth bare before my eyes. That night, I understood what she tried to tell me. That young girl, who lived owing her life, is gone, but only this morning I realise with freight that it also meant I was one of them, one of those commuters living the small life in the suburb. I thought that now I was perfect for that ugly city of my youth, and I laughed, a bitter laugh hiding the emptiness which was eating me from within.


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