Our City

It was ours.

Our City

It's funny how the relationships and friendships

That shape us, influence us, inspire us, create US

Are also the most fragile things in the world.

They are like flowers really

Beautiful, uplifting, calming

Never longlasting.

Those nights lazing around on the mountain trails, at the parks

At the balcony.

That balcony that overlooked OUR city.

Though we came from all over the world,

and hated the place we were forced to call home,

It was still OUR city.

It was where we had our firsts.

Many of us.

First kiss, first relationships, first heartbreaks

First assaults.

It was OURS.

Those nights wandering downtown for something to do.

Those nights at that karaoke bar where we never seemed capable of making a reservation.

Those nights spent in the waiting room waiting with bottles of knock-off Budweiser

Waiting for a room to clear up.

That night when we finally made one

And spent most of it at the bar taking shots and making decisions we would regret the next morning.

I remember those two, wasted as ever

Making out on the sofa.

And the other,

Also wasted as ever,


“Get off! I’m next”

Like she was a park ride.

Those nights spent in basements.

We always ended up in basements.

The first time, we got high

On the life we gave each other

And ended up jumping off sofas

And making out with strangers

Who knew we weren’t in the right state of mind.

I remember two boys, men

A small room in the basement.

Always the basement.

The tunnel vision that made me realize

“This is bad.”

I remember one leaving.

He went somewhere, to meet someone.

So I was free

But she wasn’t.

So I dragged her away from him,

Got a cab and left

With images of what could’ve happened.

He didn’t even care

That I was sitting right there

We always ended up on that balcony

Overlooking OUR city.

The city we wanted to burn to the ground.

The city of our firsts.

The city that embodied our worst moments

That many of us faced alone.

That many of us seemed ready to forget the next day.

These friendships and relationships.

They never lasted.

Most left.

Graduated, moved away, grew out of US.

We all separated with memories

Always interpreted differently.

But I know for sure

If we were given a match

We would burn OUR city to the ground

And watch the flames cover everything

From OUR balcony that overlooked

OUR city

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Read next: I Am A Bullet.
Chantal Arko-Dadzie

See all posts by Chantal Arko-Dadzie