Layers of a Place

When you first arrive in a new place, it has a history and stories outside of yourself. It’s its own being and you are your own being. It has an official history, with famous people and landmarks. Here is where Lincoln was shot, and this is where Martin Luther King spoke of his dream.

Over time, a place starts to cradle your stories alongside its own. You start to live into it. Now this building is no longer just the spot where presidents live, but also where you and I watched fireworks one summer. I’ve been here long enough that the layers are starting to build up, and I can say now:

Here is where I ate breakfast with my ex-boyfriend before he was an ex, and here is the building where I went to work at my first professional job, and also where I had my wedding dress altered. It looks out over the park where I’ve sat in the heat and in the cold and waited, for him, for her, for you.

And this is the building where I went to my first internship, and also where I now work. Here is the bar where I always meet out of town friends, and here is the other bar where I had that blind date with the man who was so nice, but not for me. Here is the fountain in front of which we said our vows, a few blocks from the subway station in front of which we first kissed. And when you take that subway line a few stops, you get to the museum, in the corner of which is the painting that I’ve looked at over and over, when I was alone, when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was lost, and when I was found.

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