I sit in my aunt's living room, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Just below is Pacific Coast Highway, "as seen on TV". This is an old view, and yet not completely. I grew up in this town, El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, otherwise known as LA.
As a kid, my folks packed picnic dinners on summer afternoons and we hit Santa Monica beach. I grew up understanding that everything was supposed to be 20 minutes away, but the reality was that it took us 45 to get to wherever we wanted. I know the difference between marine haze, smog and overcast skies. I know that a Sig Alert means you better pull out all your secret short cuts. I can locate Tito's Tacos, The Apple Pan and Versailles purely by sixth sense.
So I guess you could say LA is my hometown. And yet...
And yet, I walk around and feel like a tourist. No, wait. Not even a tourist, I know my way around. I feel like a stranger. There are no familiar faces smiling out at me, there is no sense of home as I have come to understand home. I can't seem to find touchstones that remind me that I am me.
There was a time, when I initially left this town, that I referred to it with disdain in my voice. The memory of this place was painful for many reasons, and letting a scab grow over the wounds was the healthy thing to do.
But I have been healed. Restored. Made whole.
There is no need to look at this place with anything but new eyes. I know you, LA, yet you don't know me. Never bothered. And it's okay.
In the meantime, I'll keep marvelling at the crash of the ocean waves below me, gazing at that unfamiliar orange globe in the sky and enjoy what this city has to offer. And be thankful.