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Why Vancouver? Why You?

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7 essays that came close to making the top ten
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Indelible

By Jay Jameson

Every window, wall and walkway of that city has been saturated with memories of you. It is no longer the aloof city we found together in the autumn of our youth – that emerald place compelling us from just beyond our reach. We found that city together and made it our own. On every grey morning and fiery evening, we painted the city together. Laughing, fighting, whispering, and cajoling, we dashed down its streets and into cold, rolling waves (hands clasped) to discover some hidden truth in their primal undulations. We burned through those flashing avenues at dusk and into the quiet corners where we found ourselves mysteriously alone.

Vancouver – even now, its streets must still be slick with the splendour, pleasure, idiocy, and despair that we flung from us at every corner (as though our supplies of them were unlimited). To be there again, those memories of you (of us) would undoubtedly still be coursing into the gutters like rain. I could splash into puddles of them if I wanted and they would soak me to my ankles. Like some shining ink, those memories would glisten on the windows and door handles of the subtle places we knew so well.

I long to return to those christened streets and to walk the city’s glimmering corridors made brilliant in the collusion of glass, steel, sun, and rainwater. I ache to feel that rain, that sun, on my shoulders and to be in the place where your laughter decorated the hasty sidewalks. If I return, perhaps I could catch a reverb of that laughter as it echoes back to me from the many-sided slates of gleaming glass. Then maybe, through some miraculous manifestation, you would appear to me as you were on that last yellow day, when we reflected together on a hillside by the bridge – the lush, vivid bounty before us and your hair (longer then) playing solar tricks with the light from behind. I looked at you and offered a feeble petition beneath the green-turning-gold-turning-grey. Growing colder, we cast our speculations toward some darkening, unmoved mountain. Together and apart, we bent toward our shadowy futures as the seagulls bleated their gaudy condolences from spirals overhead.

If I walk those streets again, if I ever do, I’m sure you will return to be with me – full and fleshed out beside me. And if by some wonder you still think of me, perhaps you’ll picture me (with you) on those same streets. I know, of course, that you have forgotten and have given me up to another time and a place far away. But it is no matter; the city remembers. A hundred years of hallowed rain could not wash away the indelible memories of you in that place – memories of truth, of ignorance, of fresh summer sound waves spilling down sidewalks toward some interminable resolve. If ever I’ll find you again, it will be there, where I would walk among our memories and race the shadows to get home.

 

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