In Velo City, we have a saying: “May every road lead home and may every road home be downhill.” This is because many of us go from one end of the city to the other on two wheels. The easiest way to get anywhere is by going downhill, even if the downhill way is sometimes roundabout. However, for the times one cannot avoid going uphill, there is comfort in knowing that once you’ve persevered to the crest, it will get easier once you start going downhill again.
However, what does it mean when you no longer know the location of home? What if the roads are inclined in all directions? I left Velo City willingly once. There is usually an exile draft every few years to attempt to prevent overpopulation, yet so many still come seeking: fortune, inspiration, love, a way of life. In my case, I seek only to return.
What does it mean to love a city? To see its map in the blood coursing just beneath your skin? To dream of sunrise over the mountain, sunset over the foothills and a shroud of mist kissed by cherry blossoms in spring? I once thought that the city had loved me in return. I was so certain I would return from my self-willed exile triumphant, cycling across each of the bridges that stretch across its bisecting river like open arms welcoming me home.
Has it been too long? I shared my heart across two cities, but I can’t help but wonder which city is real and which one is the dream.
Before I left Portland, I started a collection of short stories (and wrote out a few in comic book script format) of a fantastic city where the Flat Fairy
goes around aiding stranded cyclists in hopes to someday earn her bicycle to heaven and where gear nixies wait in the river, baiting would-be good samaritans with broken bicycles. This is also the collection of short stories about the loves and losses of those who live(d) there. It looks like on my walk home from the grocery store, I have gotten around to writing a prologue.