A Road in East Pittsburgh
My legs burn as I hike up the hill, sweat beading at my temples.
Who knew that walking up a hill could be so draining?
But that’s the big question, isn’t it?
Just like, “Who knew that this summer I’d leave my home for a brand new one?”
I still remember that day in the living room,
An announcement followed by pounding hearts and downward glances.
After 12 years in New York, Pennsylvania was another planet.
Yet here I was, despite all my hopes.
Pittsburgh is the Steel Town, the headquarters of Steelers nation…
The home of Mellon, Carnegie, Frick…one of the great American cities. I imagined
It would be like the old pictures I’d seen in books, with glamorous buildings and well-dressed
Pain shoots through my toe as I accidentally kick a pothole.
I grit my teeth, feigning toughness while fighting tears.
My home was a small town in upstate New York,
Filled with parks, lakes, trees, the quintessential American suburb.
By contrast, the ‘Burgh was a war zone.
Gnarled roads, rusted factories, a perpetual gray cloud hanging over the once glorious city.
A city full of strangers.
I won’t say it was easy, because I’d be lying.
I won’t say it didn’t take time, because it did.
But eventually I opened my eyes
And that opened my heart.
Sometimes the most beautiful people are found in the ugliest places.
If I knew then
What I know now
I wouldn’t cry after accidentally kicking that pothole.
I’d catch my breath, collect myself, and keep going on my journey.