The Unrequited Love Between Person and Place

Susana Fabre

What bothered me most were the blooming azaleas. Their petals spread out, like hands, or genitals, or
wounds. Bright pink and violet. Like promises of colours for the future. For eyes that would remain.
And the fucking sunset that day was splendid. The kind reserved for novels, for lives that don’t exist.
The moon came out full and early. Pregnant with light that didn’t—that couldn’t, pair with the world that
became at once as real and as dreamlike as it ever could be.

The azaleas existing here. Impassible like all other things, taking in the splendid glow, completely unaware
and. Unpreoccupied with permanence.

This was my home, the place where I grew up. The place I’ve left so many times. I thought. What if I left
forever? The azaleas would not care. Nor the massive aloe vera plant clinging to the black rock. Nor the
lizards, that scurry with less haste than one would expect of them, as if. I was already not here. They are the
oracles of my absence, the confirmation of my nonexistence.

This time of day the monster city is unnervingly quiet. How can I not feel the millions of pulsing blood systems
around me? It is, after all, rush hour, and I.

Standing by the azaleas try to picture an enraged driver pressing the honk of his car, trying to rip the bloody
scabs off recent wounds in the air around him. But I hear. Nothing. In a city like this the crickets left long
ago. The birds were quick to follow, but. What about the engines? The sirens? The planes passing above our
heads? What kind of silence is this, removing me from the world around me?

The angry driver is surely not awed by this tourmaline sky. Nor by the freshness of the summer breeze at
dusk. It smells of pink pepper and wet earth. His anger is filling the air with loud rage somewhere but. Not

Here. His image is muted by the sanctified crystal silence that has set in the garden.

Here. My heart is whole, but. Everything impassive: remains. The ground with emerald moss. The trees. The
brick walls. The half open window. The fucking azaleas, they fill my fucking heart. And I, for them, am


Airports used to be promises. Are. Only now, after childhood we've learned. Promises can also mean
impending threats or. Futures too uncertain to desire.

When you leave, and even if you leave in happiness, you do so mostly because there is no other choice. But
something. Gets inevitably torn - like the scabs in the sky. Pieces you can live without but still hurt. Pieces that
leave holes on your skin.

Airports are filled with the drying crusts of scabs around the floor. We don't see them but. If we pay close
attention, we can hear them cracking beneath the excited steps of those headed towards a place they'll want
to return to.

Sometimes you have to call home a place that isn't.


The monster I know is immense. An ancient beast. Brutal. It likes to rip the beating hearts off its living prey.
Sometimes it skins them, the fat below curls-up like scared mice. But.

The monster too is magnanimous. Resplendent and palpitating with the potential life of the All. This
monster city has grime in its entrails and us inside. Wallowing. Gladly.


The other monster city lives inside an invisible cave. Impeccable. At dusk, it glitters. Skyscrapers hang from
watery heavens like stalactites. And no. It never rains. The sky is a greedy magnet, and seawater is green
mercury stuck to it. Like pest glue traps.

And also cockroaches, they seem to like these diamond floors. And polished marble.

Home. Is this? What I'm supposed to call it?

One would think all that shines is gold. A pool of high-end designer heels. Servants, though one shouldn’t use
that word. Labour workers. Service sector. Euphemisms.

Too many things that should be screams but. Become pleasantries somewhere between our guts and our

I'd rather wallow in grime. And scream uncertainty and fear and mostly. Rage. Or is it shame in our nature?

Respect comes from respecere: to look back. To see the other. And so I ask, what is its antonym?

To disdain? To look away. Or.

To hate.