My Dear West End,
Now that the weather is warmer, all your eccentricities come to life.
The smell of hotdogs drifts through the air, carrying with it the dirt and the grit, eclipsed only by the smell of cocoa shells freshly laid in the garden bed. Somewhere out there aluminum is being cut, squealing and rattling up the alleys and into the street. It bounces down to Tornado Alley, where the dribbles, shouts and dreams light up the night sky.
The parking lot lay bare in the summer, a perfect stage for fireworks that chase bullets into the night. Down the street is an oasis; a garden surrounded by row homes and obscured by the passing cars and the drifters with their deals. Out front is a bench, a garden and a bus stop where arguments abound, reaching in and through my windows with displeasure.
There are crabs on the corner, burgers on Monday nights, a handful of laundromats and tattoo parlors. Corner stores mark the neighborhoods; bread, eggs and toilet paper on offer. There’s a Groundhog Day parade that stretches one block and a place where someone can board their Orchids.
As the weather gets warmer, your people leave their houses, perched on the stoops and yelling for more. We wave, we smile. We share meals, drinks, and neighborhood secrets.
We’re all different kinds here: Mothers, fathers, friends, sisters, brothers, and neighbors.
I really wouldn’t have you any other way, West End. I hope you stay the same in many ways. I hope you find better friends in the gray house on the corner. I hope you raise proud athletes on your courts. I hope you bring caring and kind neighbors to your streets.
I hope you welcome more like me, and I hope they love you as much as I do.
One day I will leave you, because that’s how life goes. I’ll remember you, your smells, your sounds, your people, and I hope that you will remember me.