These are the blocks where my heart broke twice.
I almost have to remind myself, but the subtle tang of September’s breath and the way the low-hanging sun bleeds like a raw egg across the sidewalk do it for me. My feet slide faster down the hill and my lungs leap in my throat. Add to the list of subjects that are suddenly and still surprisingly touchy: rock climbing, yellow leaves, Bon Iver, classic poetry, and two small apartments with posters of Petzl gear and fish that live in Thailand.
I was 18. Then 20, terrified as I laid in bed the second time because I realized that it only hurt worse. I made a quiet trade-off that night — in return for feeling safe, I’ll hurt myself first. To date, it’s the worst deal I’ve ever made and the hardest to break.
As I walk down this hill, I notice things. Homes come down, houses go up. Instead of yards filled with lush grass, there are parking lots lined with plastic signs that scream “Orange Leaf Yogurt! Buy now!’ My hair is longer and darker. My backpack is lighter. My thoughts are more grounded than they used to be.
But beneath those towering dormitories is the same block, and beneath that head of dark hair is the same girl, if not a little more lived in, a little more cynical. A little more lonely.