dear city of mine,
I can’t love you the way I want to. I can’t prevent your murders from happening, your schools from closing, or your broken families from splitting at the seams. I can’t give you much of anything, actually, but I’d like to share a few thoughts with you that are weighing simultaneously heavy and light on my heart. I can’t paint my love for you in sprawling strokes across billboards by the El, but know this, Philadelphia: you are loved.
You are big and broken and quite frankly often bad and boozy, but you are loved. Your citizens might hate on SEPTA or the PPA, but you are loved. There might be drug deals going down less than a block away from where I’m sitting, but you are loved. There are lists of names of people who have died working for you, but you are loved. The Schuylkill might be the nastiest river south of the Hudson, but you are loved. Lincoln Drive might have unofficial rules that the speed limit is actually 50, not 35, but you are loved.
All of your schools, all of your colleges, all of your churches and mosques and temples, all of your museums and murals and potholes and mosaics, all your farmers markets and co-ops and playgrounds and ice cream trucks with those horrible melodies, all of your traffic beyond horror and your trains behind schedule, all of your neighborhoods and restaurants and food trucks and row houses, all of your random pieces of origami and sudden bursts of color and mismatched paint trims, all of your friends and family and neighbors and even the half-crazed wildlife — you are loved.
You are messy and heartbroken and bleeding sadness everywhere in a way that often breaks my heart, but I love you. You are dirty and often illegal, okay, but I love you. You are poor and you are rich and I love you. You are so odd, Philly, in so many ways, and I never know what to make of you or what to do about anything, but I love you.
Thank you for making my life exciting. Thank you for delicious brunch and scrumptious dinner and gelato or fro yo just around the corner. Thank you for being home to a girl who never really stayed in one place long enough to know what that meant.
So thanks, Philly. You confuse me on a daily basis, but I think you’re pretty great.
P.S. In case anybody tries to tell you differently, my dear, I am a staunch believer in this: