Closing Time, No. 2

"It's always around me, all this noise
But not nearly as loud as the voice saying
Let it happen"

 

Night prevents me from sleep, and I wonder if it's the city that's made it that way.

I feel like LA imprinted on me, like so many other cities before it.

I used to be Oslo, mellow and hesitant, with the right amount of perseverance. Before that I was London, rushed, with a touch of a certain elegance. Even before that I was Barcelona, young and colorful.

Now I feel like Los Angeles, full of passion, restless and promise, rough like the Santa Ana winds, glittering like the sun's reflection on the skyscrapers. And I scratch the sky just like them, wondering when I'll realize that I've touched the sky all along.

And just like LA, I can't sleep anymore. My childhood home is comfortable and safe, the opposite of those LA nights I loved so much, I miss driving around the city with no destination set, just a wish to watch the lights with my window rolled down, the wind dancing in my hair. So I stay up, watching the darkness outside my window turn to light, watch the sunrise and dream of waking up to it instead of falling asleep to it.

Smiling Faces Sometimes starts playing and I can't remember putting it on my playlist. It feels surprisingly accurate, like some unknown force put it there on purpose. A flashback takes me to a memory of my hand out the car window, surfing the wind. Downtown LA in the background, like those postcards tourists always buy. That day my mind changed, and a certain happiness was discovered somewhere deep in my being. Maybe it was the wind or the postcard background - either way, I felt a door close behind me and a new one finally open. And I will do whatever it takes to get it back. Hard work won't feel hard anymore, now that I've already had a taste at the reward.

 

PAUSE. HE PRESSED THE POWER BUTTON AND I AWOKE.

"LET'S DRIVE THROUGH THE CITIES LIKE COMPUTER CHIPS AND DREAM OF WAYS TO REWIRE THEM ALL."


That's what I thought when you drove me through all the states in America
Icy cold and with too many shades on your dashboard to see the world through
And I told you not to worry about me and my mess
Because my heart is water that can carve through stone
It feeds on those emotions that creates the currents
And all I looked for was a friend with the same size hands that would understand the burden
Of carrying all of the world's troubles in such small palms
And I got both the hands, the city lights and other gifts from the city
The ones that gave the butterflies a whole new meaning

And I still remember you standing there in the night
A silhouette of an idea I couldn't remember ever having
Yet an idea that grew like vines on the walls that cover me
And they managed to poke through and see what others don't

A quiet wave and I remembered that loneliness doesn't have to be a verb
And the woman with the dress had predicted it all that day
And I wondered what would have happened if we both had known
Or if you'd whisper in my ear

Ne Me Quitte Pas

You were right, I was seduced by your street lights
And somewhere deep inside someone told me it was what I'd wanted all along

And yes, I am fearful, cause all I really wanted was just a hug from myself
That, and those goodbyes you were so good at


I hope my waters haven't already crushed the city and the moments
Because I loved the way I never knew what was going on inside your head

A city, a dream no longer a dream, but a vision
Of days that will come, sooner rather than later
And I'll give myself to you, Angeles
Without hesitation or doubt
But a heart filled with passion
And a dream to make things right
And an infatuation with life


 

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.....

 


Waking up to reality and tying my shoes, but tying them together, and I stumble as I get up every morning, dreaming of those days spent at Santa Monica, where no shoes were needed. I close my eyes and distant sounds of traffic hit me, traffic and a woman's heels  on the pavement, a saxophone's song flowing out of a  basement, ocean waves kissing the shore gently, a man cursing as he get's caught in an alleyway, the buzzing of the OPEN sign in front of me as I crave whiskey. I wonder if people see my sign as OPEN or if I'll always be with a sign that only shines when nobody's looking.

The city feeds me with energy, every memory an endless battery I must remind myself to indulge in. The people who I made smile and everyone else. Smiling faces, sometimes. Songs from those days of crusing down Santa Monica, Sunset, Franklin and Wilshire on repeat.

I close my eyes and see flashes of moments, a view over the city from a bar with a bird on it, a dark warehouse filled with flashing lights, a dog falling asleep in my lap, sandy feet and too much sunscreen, my celebrity crush leaning against a wall, a row of telephones that held the clues, my attempts as a stand-up comedian in certain Uber-rides or expressing every inner emotion in others, a sign I'd only seen in the movies, a museum that taught me what I already know, the friend who said good morning, another who said goodbye.


Gratitude fills me, longing haunts me, hope revives me. ASAP Rocky sings of it all starting in Hollywood. And it did, in the midst of the star-filled pavement, selfie sticks, superheroes and Marilyn Monroes. That place which seemed like a nightmare, yet awoke something I still can't put my finger on.

Deep breaths. The time will come for all of us when we realize our wings are strong enough to reach new highs alone, and for the rest of the world to realize you knew you didn't need their wind all along. 


....


It's going to be okay. Don't worry, doubt or fear. I'll explain it all
The next time life remembers me
And passion releases me

I'll explain it all


Eventually.


And while you ponder about what a mess you might have gotten yourself into,
I'll laugh and worry if that's what you're really thinking


And I'll continue looking for the right way to rewire life's many cables,

And possibly find the right way to hardwire yours. 


Sofia Hariz