|The view from my Koreatown apartment on my last night in LA|
I lived in Los Angeles from July 2005 until October 2008. I hated it the entire time. I tried to leave once before, in December 2006, and swore I would never return. But the city pulled me back (and not to mention a previous relationship), so I returned and stayed there for almost two more years. When I left in 2008 I promised myself it would be for good. Not just that I would never live there again, but I would never GO there again. Why would I? All my friends from the city have moved on. I had no one to visit and nothing to see. So I thought.
It might have been the opening of the Broad, which I read about in a magazine at the doctor’s office.
It might have been Document Café, which I saw on my friend’s instagram.
It might have been the memory of delicious Korean BBQ, which I have yet to find in Portland.
But whatever it was, when I had a holiday from work and airline ticket prices were cheap, I booked a flight to LAX.
I wasn’t alone this time. I brought my partner with me. The first few days we walked around the city and I led a tour of my memories. On the uber ride from the airport we passed a freeway sign for National Blvd, and I remembered taking that exit when I lived in Santa Monica with an ex. When we saw the freeway sign for Crenshaw I remembered driving to the Walmart there and finding only empty boxes in the electronics section. When we passed the Koreatown Galleria, I remembered the time an old friend showed me how to eat soodobu. In downtown I retraced my steps the hundred or so times I walked down Hope Street to the LA public library; I remembered a first date that began at the Murakami exhibit at the Geffen. I remembered commuting from Orange Country to Pasadena with a transfer at Union Station; staying out all night to party with friends then going to work at 7:00am the next morning.
This trip to LA I also experienced other things. Things that were not memories, but something new. A nighttime view of downtown from my window. The upside down moon in the center of Wilshire. Skyscrapers looming over historic villas like the distant future.
No bad memory has to stay bad forever. I can’t go back and change the life that has been lived, but I can go back to the same place to see how I’ve changed this time around. I can rewrite those bad memories. This book is not yet finished.