You’re Here

Today I met with a friend for coffee and stories.

We met at Weatherstone in downtown sac. I haven’t been to this coffee shop since before the pandemic, back when times were far simpler.

It was a chilly morning, a foggy morning, what I would call a “good writing” morning. The drive down to Weatherstone is one that finds you sheltered beneath a canopy of orange: the changed leaves of Autumn drifting about in the morning wind, a wind carrying with it sounds of a distant city, a sleepy city, an oddly intimate city.

A few months ago I visited New York for the first time. It was an incredible experience to say the least. I’ve never seen something quite so…chaotic. Beautifully so. It got me thinking—maybe I should move to New York.

When I was nineteen, I was impelled by a sense of yearning for adventure to pack up and move myself to Portland, Oregon. My stay there was brief—I’m embarrassed to say just how brief. Nonetheless, it proved a time of similar chaos, a time of searching and, ultimately, a time of finding.

What I found in Portland was that for me, for someone like me, to live alone is death. I had a scary encounter—a few actually—that made me realize I couldn’t make it there, that despite what I had thought possible, the reality of my disease and the situations it placed me in meant that I couldn’t live alone. I moved in November and have been back ever since.

There is a guilt that accompanies staying home, especially when you’re conscious that others have moved away. When I visited New York, I was reminded of that guilt, I was struck with a sense of yearing—the very same I had experienced back when I was nineteen. It was like a voice, a voice that told me I was missing out, that I wasn’t good enough—that where I come from wasn’t either. I felt driven to move, to again abandon.

But today, whilst I walked down the small city streets of Sacramento, Lady Bird’s finest love-letter, a place of quiet solitude and subtle beauty, and felt the orange leaves crunch beneath me, and heard their crisp forms dancing in the wind, and smelled the fog pass through my lungs, and gazed at old, witchy houses, I was reminded that I am here, that regardless of where I feel pressured to be, or guilted to move to, I am here, and here is fine, here is okay, here is lovely, here can be magical, even.

And so wherever here is for you, I hope you’re also able to see the magic in it, or inspired to make magic of it. Even the worst of places has magic in it, can have magic to it—it’s just a matter of finding it.

And find it, I have.

Another voice, different from the one before, spoke in hushed tones through the wandering wind. It spoke of this city I often forget is home.

“You’re here,” it said.

And I listened.

I listened.

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