Tuesday, June 2, 2015

i would miss this all so much

A few months ago, I traveled to Minneapolis for a writing conference. This wasn't so much a destination as a stop on my way to somewhere else, namely, becoming a better writer. The day I landed, April was acting more like February, keeping the sun hidden with a think layer of clouds and blowing cold wind to stir up the leaves and trash along the sidewalks. From the airport I took the light rail downtown, and dug my winter coat out of my suitcase to put over top my denim jacket while I waited for it to come. After the light rail, I crossed the street and took the bus a few miles to my hostel. Bare tree branches hadn't yet sprouted their new leaves, and the hostel had an old, creepy feeling (made even more so by the quirky characters who worked there). I looked at my room and one of my first thoughts was, I hope there are no mice in here.

The first day, it rained so hard that my boots and pants were soaked through by the time I walked the mile to the convention center from my hostel, and my coffee had turned cold and stale along the way. Later that day, it snowed. There wasn't much good food to eat or anything interesting to see, and though I liked my conference, I was eager to leave Minneapolis behind.

The next morning, I went for a run. Running a city forges a special relationship between you and it - you feel its roads, see more of it up close, get some of its wind in your hair. I stood by the Mississippi and took photos of the sky and bridge. Later that day, the sun came out. After the conference was over for the day, I walked in the sun's warming glow with some new books in my hand and full of new words and ideas. After dinner, I went to a coffee shop. And I think that's when it happened that I fell in love with Minneapolis.

It was familiar, in its brick and gritty city and white and black and trees and sky. And it was decidedly not Los Angeles, the city which has been my home for nearly 11 years but against which I still like to rail, an adopted daughter who still stands on the edges of her new home. The coffee shops were open late, people weren't trying to make statements, there were old brick churches and skyways and so many things inside instead of out. I liked that it was new and that I didn't have to learn to love it in the long-term kind of way one has to settle into home.

I suppose I have a bit of a wandering heart. On the flight home, I considered what it would be like to move to Minneapolis and have coffee not just one Sunday but every Sunday at that coffee shop I visited and to run along the Mississippi and buy a heavier winter coat. This was still on my mind when I arrived at Union Station from the bus that drove me there from LAX, ready to catch the light rail to Pasadena. I rolled my suitcase behind me and looked up to the cloudless sky that seems so big here. The sun painted the sky pink as it left for the day, and jasmine flirted with the early evening air that was cool, not cold. And I remembered, this is why it's good to call LA my home. I would miss this all so much.

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