Dear Los Angeles,
I never know how these kinds of letters are supposed to start, how I’m meant to introduce the beginning of the end. Breakups are inherently difficult, but of all the trials and tribulations one has to endure throughout one, I think initiating the conversation that will ultimately result in sorrowful separation might be the hardest. So, I guess I’ll just come out and say what you already know is coming: things are over between you and me.
Contemplating the end of something always gets me thinking about the start: the first encounter, the first impression, the first time you feel the spark. I will admit that you, my dear, made a fabulous first impression and I was smitten almost instantly. I won’t use the cliché “love at first sight,” but you sure did sweep me off my feet. You were charming, glamorous, warm, driven, beautiful and invigorating – you really seemed to have it all. You made me feel lucky just to be in your presence, even made me go as far as to pity those who weren’t fortunate enough to be near you.
Though the purpose of this letter is to say goodbye, I feel I owe it to you to admit all these things, tell you just how much you meant to me. Our relationship was my constant, the one thing I could count on for stability when everything else was chaos. Friends, family (people in general I suppose), they can sometimes let you down, but at the end of each day I always had you. You were my rock, my North Star. Not anymore.
I loved you so much, but I didn’t realize until recently how little you loved me back. It’s not that you were cruel or unkind, you simply didn’t care — and when I leave, you will keep moving at your ever-rapid pace without me, never even skipping a beat. It’s sad to think about how much I will miss you, how I will long for us to resolve our differences and get back together, but you’ll barely notice I’ve left. I guess that’s what happens when you breakup with a city though. They go on just fine without you.
There is a quote by Louis de Bernières, one I like very much that I discovered when I was with you. He writes: “Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.” I don’t know if I agree exactly, don’t know if I would describe the last five years as my descent into “madness,” but whatever you call it, it has indeed subsided. I would have thought we were well past the honeymoon phase, and yet when I look to the ground and search for roots, anything to keep me from blowing away with the wind… there’s nothing. That’s how I know I’m making the right decision by listening to the voice inside my head, the one whispering, “Go, baby, go.” That’s how I know it’s time to breakup.
If I’m being perfectly honest however (and at this point I may as well be), I’ve always known you weren’t perfect. You had your flaws for sure; you often acted quite fake and superficial and so judgmental toward anyone not as “cool” as you. My parents never liked that about you, and they really didn’t like how you rubbed off on me. Naturally, their opinion didn’t matter much to me then (I was in love and ready to dismiss every bad word said against you) but now that we’re over, I guess I see what they were talking about. Annoying how parents can be right sometimes.
The truth is: I just feel tired all the time. I’m tired of trying so hard to change for you, tired of attempting to be someone I’m not when you are so unwilling to make any compromises for me. I’d like to think that someone better suited for you will replace me; that he’ll come find you just as I’m saying farewell. I hope you’ll be gentler with him, that you’ll go easy on this new guy. Maybe you were just a chapter in my book, but you can be the “happily ever after” in his.
I know I’ve said some harsh things, but this is just how I’m feeling right now. We need some space, some time apart, but I really hope that we’ll be friends in the future. Sure, we didn’t end up being soul-mates like I thought, but you seem like the type who could be friends with an ex. Somewhere down the line I hope you’ll allow me to come for a visit, get coffee, have dinner, maybe even spend a day at the beach? That’d be really nice, wouldn’t it? I’m already looking forward to that day.