Virgil Avenue and Normal Street; Los Angeles, Winter 2015

Back to this Neighborhood

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 stop and ask myself about 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 world outside, resolving to stay in because the greater experience will surely be found somewhere inside anyway.

But then I think to myself that I can’t see things this way when everything and everyone is out there, when my mother and brother and all of my friends and loved ones are out there.

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.

Maybe it’s just the vastness of the self after all, broken up into a million scattered seconds, at one moment telling me to get out there and fall to keep going all over again, and at another moment telling me to stick to what I know, because things are just 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, walking through the village again.

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. The thing is, 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 have to keep walking through the neighborhood. Because it is the village, where every time I fall again, I can get up knowing its streets and I are there for each other, that we were made for each other, and that we rise and fall only to complete one another. Somehow, I believe this.

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

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