Last night I climbed a tower that overlooked the city and I stood there, two jackets, baseball cap, arms folded on the concrete ledge, hands pressed to my cheeks. The wind was fierce, freezing the tears against my face as I tried to blink them away. I watched the windmills in the distance, spinning, spinning, and the set of lights across the county road blinking on and off.
The city extended for miles, small, but bright. I thought of the Chicago skyline, how breathtaking it was from the deck of the tallest tower, from the window of an airplane. Or the city of Phoenix from the street that dead-ended into the mountain, where I sat in-between the legs of a boy I loved, taking in all the colors, all the lights.
I thought of how the sounds of those cities seemed so distant, but when you closed your eyes you could always hear them—the rush of an airplane engine, laughter, shouts, horns, sirens. I’d always loved those sounds, felt at peace in hearing them.
But here, it was silence. It was the shadow of a car on a one-lane road a few miles to my left. It was a ranch house with a single light. It was the gas station up the road with its florescent sign, swaying absently in the wind.
As I watched the lights, I couldn’t help but cry. Cry for the sounds and the absence of them. Cry for the places I’d been and called home. Cry for the hands I’d held, the hearts I’d broken, and the people I would one day leave behind. Cry because this silent city was where I’d found myself. And it was time say goodbye.