Virgil Avenue and Normal Street; Los Angeles, Winter 2015

This Neighborhood Again

Even though sometimes it’s one of the toughest things to walk past the gates and out to a neighborhood whose streets I’ve fallen on so many times.

As I put on my sneakers and open the door, I can’t help but question the arrangement of everything at home: that is, if I’m okay with leaving everything as it is, if for whatever reason I don’t get to make it back in time.

When I think about it for longer than a moment, I can’t help but want to hold onto my home and forget about the rest of the world, resolving that staying in could surely be the better choice in a world with no guarantee for my safety out there.

But then I think to myself that I can’t see things this way when everything and everyone is outside, when my mother and brother and all of my friends and loved ones are taking the risks past the grand unknowns that come with living in cities like ours.

It’s just that sometimes being at home is so familiar. Sometimes being at home alone is even more familiar than being in the company of friends or family.

But maybe it’s just the vastness of a self broken up into a million scattered seconds, at one moment telling me to get out there, then telling me to just stick to what I know since things are probably safer that way.

Somewhere through it all, the former gets a step ahead of the latter, and before I know what’s happening:

I find myself outside again, walking through the neighborhood I’ve known and not known for so long.

As I look out towards the familiar streets, I remark at how long it’s been, even if it was only just the other day since I crossed one intersection or another. But every time I see the streets again, they’re filled with new life; with new people, new possibilities, new dreams.

Unable to control the emotions this uproots in me, I can’t help but dream with the avenues and boulevards: of capturing all their life and loss and gorgeousness and making them shine bright enough to give them a place among the stars in a city which can always use more of them.

I see, then, how I do have to keep walking through the neighborhood. Even if I am to fall through its streets again, I can get back up knowing the streets and I share a common gravity, that we were made for each other, and that we rise and fall to complete one another. Home is not just what is within, then, it’s not even just what’s familiar; instead, it’s what is all around, and I value each of my surroundings. It is all home.

J.T.

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J.T.

Born and raised in the Los. Los Cuentos. J.T.

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