The Scars of My City

7 Oct

Just like a child can tell stories from the scars on their knees, I can tell stories from the scars on my city.  I realized that today while biking in Boston.

There’s the spot where I got hit by a car. And spent time shooting the breeze (and icing and wiping away tears) in the local bike shop while the police handled the situation and picked up my race bib.

There’s the spot on the bridge where I can see the entire cityscape.  It always looks different.  Biking in the morning, running past it at lunch, in the heat of August, in the icy winter air, idling in traffic in my coworker’s car.

There’s the well-worn path around the Charles River.  I have run it dehydrated and while seeing spots.  I’ve run it when my friends did their first double-digits.  I’ve run it fast in pouring rain with my competitive coworker on my heels.  I’ve run it slow the day after our first relay race with a bunch of agonizing coworkers.  I know the dips and the swells and the unevenness and where the traffic backs up.

There’s the pond where I go to think and recharge. I have walked it with friends. I have run it with my Ipod.  And I have biked it over and over when I wanted to work on speed and get to the 50-miles-biked mark.

There’s the arboretum where I’ve been on a date with my Dad, on a long Mother’s Day run with my friend (and where an accordion player awaited us at the peak), and on a long lazy Saturday bike ride where another friend lulled me into a state of bliss by discussing (of all things) camera lenses.

There’s the spot where I first fell off my bike.  There’s the spot where I stood when the moving van hit a parked car. There’s the spot where I watched part of Fenway burn to the ground.

There’s the street where I stood when my sister called about her engagement.  There’s the apartment where I sat when the other sister called about her engagement.  There’s a bar that I celebrated a birthday in one year, a finished final with classmates the next year, a date with a college friend more recently.

Everywhere I turn, there is history.  Boston’s history.  And my history.  And although I doubt anyone wants the Liz tour:

Tour 1: The “I’m So Glad I’m Not Liz Tour”
Here is where the ROUS attacked me.  Here is where the drunk driver squished me into the cars. Here is where the drug deal happened as I ran past.  Here is where the evil dog-lover accused me of dog abuse.

Tour 2: The “When Liz Isn’t Being Attacked She Has Lots of Fun Tour”
Here is where Liz fell in love with a bike.  Here is where Liz ran through the sprinklers. Here is where Liz played soccer in the Boston Commons with the Flyers.  Here is where Liz drank a pumpkin hot chocolate while realizing she was, for one perfect moment, content.

Tour 3: The Sam Adams Brewery (Where Good Meets Bad)
Here is where Liz met a crazy man who danced nonstop and wore too much bling.  Here is where Liz experienced the worst allergic reaction of her year.  A reaction that she’s still dealing with months later.  Here is where Liz fell in love with the Sam Adams beers that she can’t drink because of the reaction.  Here is where Liz took new friends on a gorgeous September Monday and pretended to be a tourist for a day.

The truth is that, for each of us, location matters.  We make our mark on a city.  For good or bad.  And in return, the city makes its mark on us.  Some of the scars are painful, some have faded away.  But they mingle together silly and sad.

And they begin to overlap, to blend together as layers of skin will.  You may see a crooked brick.  I remember standing on that brick while panicked.  And then, weeks later, standing there while pampered.  Boston has experienced every emotion along with me.  It has not protested when I bled on it and danced on it and slipped on it and grown tired of running on it.

Boston has been faithful.  The scars may be temporary.  Or they may come with me. What they won’t do is hold me back.  There are many more paths and ponds and bricks and bridges to be discovered.  One scar at a time.


One Response to “The Scars of My City”

  1. Meg October 10, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    I want to go on all three tours.

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