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I woke up to the strangest city; I could hardly spell out her name, from fever dreams of a clear summer sky now distorted in its crooked rooftop frame. Walked down to the corner, hid amongst the faces waiting for the downtown train where I brushed shoulders with a memory of driving home in a van full of voices gone hoarse from the songs that they loved to sing. And nothing’s really been right since. I tried to get lost somewhere else in the world and found I felt more at home changing faces as I crossed borders into places I swore I’d never go. But that’s when it hit me; the deepest ties can be cut to the bone. What separates us is we hold on, like you held the phone to your ear as I crashed to the floor in a fit I could not control. And nothing’s really been right since. You searched for it in a song or an empty parking lot where we ran in circles around our cars and thought we might be like those kids in the movies. But the promise was still miles away. They didn’t know any better than I did what it would take to keep my foot from the brake and keep my eyes upon the road where I saw metaphors for the state of the world in traffic patterns. The way Jesus fish on bumpers swerve around to beat the masses. Well the irony’s not lost on me. No, I’m not exempt. I’m just a cynical kid digging my heels into the floor of this car looking for any excuse ever since. It put out the fire in my heart that was lit by a spark, when the flower shop closed down. I swear I tore down these walls and ran away and the whole place burned to the ground. And when I heard that you were slipping away I didn’t run back home, I was too afraid. I’ve never been too good at goodbye. Somewhere down on North and Broadway Avenue I spent almost every afternoon with you. Wish I could be half the man you were. How you lived simply. How you worked with grace. How you joked, “Kid, someday you’ll own this place.” How you held it all together, though it sometimes failed you. Nothing’s really been right since. And truth be told, I ain’t been right since. In the darkness there’s a light that shines down on the street. And that is where I told her she could always find me. But when she came calling out my name on that desperate winter night I stood just out of sight and watched as she let that feeling die. You’ve seen me hiding in the shadows cast over my face as I walk home from my latest mistake. Do you remember? Do you remember the boy who cried on the Fourth of July in that house full of people? He wanted to die. It seemed so silly at the time, but you could never really shake the first time your frail, faithful heart would ever truly break. And I awoke the next day with a gaping hole in my chest. The pain was gone, but it took with it a part of me I could never get back. Or the boy who came crawling back much stronger than before? Or the boy left shaking and cold outside your door? Do you remember the boy who fell in love with a girl halfway across the world? It was just a passing dream, his last chance to hold on to anything. And it meant everything. Do you remember? I’m moving on. This train is moving on. For something new. To sing a different song. Do you remember? We do what we can to keep our names alive.