Marty Romero

Visiting L.A. - The friend I missed the most

Los Angeles City Hall Building. This is City Hall in L.A. It’s the where the ‘Occupy’ movement took place. It is also my favorite childhood building. I use to think that this was the building from which Superman flew out of and into in the show ‘The Adventures of Superman.’

Hello Los Angeles

I’ve been back to L.A. three times now since we left two years ago. The first two times were stressful and I hardly remember what happened and in what order. The first time was to drop mom off at my aunt’s and the second to put her on a plane to Utah.

This third time, I went back because I missed my friends. I was surprised to realize that the ‘friend’ that I missed the most was the city itself. At times, driving around L.A. felt so natural that I almost thought I had never left. One night, I got a craving for boba. It was late–just past midnight. I drove about a block before I found a place that was opened. It was a small coffee shop in Monterey Park and if you didn’t know it was so late, it could have easily been noon. There were small groups of people chatting, other’s typing or working on their laptops and others watching videos or cruising the internet.

L.A. is like that. It really never sleeps. I never understood what that phrase meant until I moved to a town where life kind of halts after about 6pm. I miss L.A.

Things that I have missed

  • I miss exiting the 60 freeway on Lorena and catching a glimpse of Downtown’s skyline.
  • I miss the light over the city at sunset.
  • I miss hearing the sound of an ice cream truck in the distance in the afternoons.
  • I miss the sound of children playing in the evenings.
  • Believe it or not, I miss the sound of sirens in the distance breaking up the sound of rolling tires on asphalt from the passing cars.
  • I even miss the sound of helicopters overhead.

The one friend I miss the most

Perhaps the thing that I miss the most, is the feeling of comfort, and knowing exactly what to do and when. Knowing that I have to leave one hour early to make it across town on time. Knowing how to act in different neighborhoods, and what to expect from others. West Hollywood is LGBTQ town, Boyle Heights and East L.A. are a small version of Mexico, Glendale and Eagle Rock are places I know I’ll be annoyed at the teen and pre-teen Armenian kids with their entitled attitude.

Sharing a history with a particular building or a particular place the same way that I would with a friend. Remembering the place where I first kissed my first girlfriend, or where I got pulled over for driving carelessly because I was just learning how to drive stick. And then all the spots where mom and I waited for the bus to take us to Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Venice, San Fernando Valley, and others to get to her job.

Coming home

Still, none of it compares to having a home and someone to come home to. I drove past our last home in L.A. and realized that I couldn’t park because it wasn’t home. I missed my wife, mom and cats terribly just then. All of what I missed in L.A. lost at that very moment and I wanted to be home. Yes, I have a home and it is not Ellensburg, or L.A. or any other place. My home is my wife.

When I wrote this, I was listening to this:

I know its a cliche, but so what!

Jose Romero