I departed on August 22, 2004. But really I left you earlier in March. I dared dream of greener pastures, of those lands for books and travel magazines. The Sunday I wept as I thought of leaving you. Now I scarcely remember the way you smell.
I remember your sweet scent of roasting meats, chili cheese burgers, and sunny basin smog. I have been reminded of your beauty and I miss you. I want you to know you will always have a huge piece of my heart. You were and are my first love.
It was with you that I discovered those warm breezy summer nights in Chavez Ravine, hiding among the denizens of condiment clad fans cheering for our beloved bums. It was with you that I was serenaded by the lore and love present in the ancient streets in old town hugging the train station. It was with you that I sat on your cool grassy parks watching friends play with a plastic disk.
Some of my best days were intertwined with your curvy streets and dangerous ways. I lost my youth among your delicate boundaries. I ventured towards manhood in the comfort of your mountains and beaches.
I went to camp with friends of yours. I found a home in one of your sanctuaries. In your safety I discovered I could love you and leave you. I found confidence in myself. I found friends that believed in me and dared me to not be there when they opened their eyes.
I left one day taking their dare. The night I returned from Louisville was one of the most magical moments I had in your arms. I learned I was to leave you, to Africa. Fucking Africa! In no more than five months I would be gone. I went to one of your friend’s house and crossed the street to a carnival.
There I won three gold fish and rode the swings. This time as I flew above you I was not afraid. I remember feeling safe and sound. I could leave you and I would not die. “They” would not get me. You became smaller and more revered to me. You lost your confines and let me go.
I miss you terribly these days. Gone is our playful banter of father and son. Gone is your comforting embrace. I have run in to you on occasion, but it not the same. Please just know that I miss you and still love you. If I had the opportunity to return to you one day I would. I want you to see that I have become a man. I want to share my joys with you. I miss family and friends.
Next time I see you I will give you a hug. Please do not withhold yourself from me. I have traveled far and wide and you still are the most beautiful person at the dance. Some are prettier, others are more put together. None of them pushed me in a swing as a child. None washed my tears from my face at her funeral. None took me to my first crush. None of them laid the foundation for my call. You loved me first and all other lovers are compared to you. I love LA.