Overlooking the city from a high point at Cobbs Hill, I finally understood why Rochester appealed to many people and to me when I first went. It’s like a guy that you have connected with, instantly, not as boyfriend per se, but as a close guy friend. Stable on the outside, volatile in the inside.
The best day I ever had in Rochester was on November 7, 2009. It was a perfect sunny and unseasonably warm day, and the guy and me went to get my tattoo done. After the tattoo, we decided to visit Cobbs Hill, a park in Rochester. I realized that day, it was perfect. Trees void of leaves, affording the best view of the city. Bare bones with glass. To protect from the elements. It should’ve been a foreshadowing for what’s to come. I was blissfully ignorant. Seeing the tiny blue flower, walking along the empty concrete reservoir, I stooped down, admiring the toughness. Rochester isn’t stable and I liked it. I liked the feel that Rochester can be utterly beautiful one day, and ugly the next. Makes me appreciate the beauty you have to uncover of Rochester. The crisp oranges and yellows of the fall matching its sunsets if lucky. The sparkling snow at 3am with only the glow of the lights, sledding with plastic bags with friends, even on school nights. The springs with the crocus peeking through the heavy snow of the winter. To herald the arrival of daffodils, tulips, and fresh green leaves on the trees. The lake’s salty air wafting, reminding me of the ocean, where I belong.
As Rochester is beautiful, it’s not where I belong. I have greater things in mind. Rochester was a period in my life, sweet and volatile at the same time. Ups and downs, the same cycle happens every time I’m there. It reared its ugly head in winter. Rochester isn’t what it seemed. I resolved to escape, to quit my life in Rochester and start anew. No more of that guy named Rochester. He was good, but it’s not meant to last long with all those cycle. I realized that I needed to find something better. Maybe it means travelling the world, being in Washington DC, and discovering what I like. Maybe DC is a guy that I can depend on, and keeps me excited and on my toes. But it’s not like the world, whisking me off on an adventure of a lifetime. I don’t want to feed my heart with this bittersweet relationship, platonic or not with Rochester. My heart still belongs to Seattle. The mountains and the salty air of the ocean wafting in the city. It’s what I would call home. I would’ve known this, because that’s my earliest memory. Montreal is like a French lover, beautiful and lively, even in the dead of the winter. I could see myself cocooning to Montreal, letting its French style make me warm. Home isn’t Rochester, no matter how beautiful it is with the waterfalls.
But first, I’ll let the world whisk me off on an adventure. Maybe I’ll discover my perfect paradise number three, after Seattle and Montreal. I’m at my happiest when I’m meeting new cities. Discovering what the cities holds for me, to see what it is really. To see its heart, and to understand it.