There seems to be no ice cream as sweet, no cocktail as strong, no Mexican wrestling-themed restaurant as kitschy as in Seattle. It’s a city filled with irony and urban decay, cupcake shops and anchor tattoos. Record stores are on every corner, pulling audiophiles from the streets with the smell of vinyl records left alone in muggy basements 15 years too long. In every coffee shop the Pixies blast on repeat, a reminder that music can be simple and delightful and just truly good. Seattle is laced fingers and dirty socks, heartbeats and tiptoes, whispers in the rain.
I exit the city amongst surly passengers and seatbelt signs, drenched in salt from the sea and covered in strange bruises. My toes are soggy; my tummy is full. Happiness is a bag of Dicks—Seattle’s famously cheap cheeseburgers. The dim sum and piroshkies, pinball and flaming cocktails are long gone. A restless city ebbs in my bones yet the bustle of Seattle’s streets is not echoed at home; no gutter punks or salty sailors cross my path.
In measured days, Seattle dissolves from my consciousness like sea salts in bathwater, lingering unseen. Its death is slow in my memory, like tulips mourning spring—their heads hung, their petals dry—drifting across summer winds. In the stench of time that unfolds, I hear the echoes in my silo, feel the wind at my opening, discover a scared girl behind a wall of graying skin.
I’m quite certain one does not stumble upon redemption, or find it like a lost dog. It must be earned. And love? Products of timing, do we stumble upon it when we’re most vulnerable? When we’re least expecting? Like seeping fumes from vamps nestled up to the bar, love lures me with false pretenses as if it was just around the corner. Before I could know love I had to abuse it, watch it squirm under my grasp. For love to return I must find patience and await its homecoming as if it were migrant fowl that slink at first sign of frost, only to return and trumpet the spring.
For now, Seattle remains a custodian of my heart. Like a tattooist, the city crashed into my life for just a moment, marking my body as I pressed myself to its streets. Starless and silver-grey, Seattle represents a passing loss of lonely. It’s a carried photo, a recollection lost in the transient shuffle. It’s the sweet taste of forgetting, an indication of anew. It’s a 4 a.m. walk along compact streets where views of the Space Needle float between miles of dimly lit pavement and tightly parked cars. Like a dream, I’m never quite sure it was real.