Parenthesis: (The Stage Whisper of the Written Word)

Oh Dallas, if you are sad about my disappearance, imagine how I must feel. I am the toddler dropped in the suburban dumpster, climbed out, picked trash out of hair, looked around, started walking. Directionless, loveless, rejected. I mean, I know you said I could come back anytime, once I was grown, but really? A dumpster? Don’t you remember that The Heart Remains a Child?

Besides, this is something approaching the 10th time you’ve done this. And each dumpster got farther and farther from your warm, sky-scrapered center. Each drive out a longer moment of bliss, that warm car, the steady feel of tires over pavement (are we moving? could it be?); each dumpster dive a colder, more surprising shock to the system. At this point you’ve driven me so far out there’s no way to find my way back; it’s closer to just walk to the next city. That was the point, right? I know it broke your heart to do it, but population issues. Overdensity. I get it. I used to be my own city once.

Even if I did come back, haven’t you seen this in my eyes: that my heart is dead, my soul left behind? Maybe I will be unable to find it in any city–of this I am catastrophically frightened–but surely there is no chance to find it again on your streets. I’ve been all over–North Dallas, East Dallas, Expo Park, Downtown, Deep Ellum, White Rock Lake, Oak Cliff. (The only place I haven’t looked is Uptown, and I’m not sure I would recognize it there, if that is even where it went.)

Ft. Worth, maybe you could explain to Dallas. I mean, this is your Metroplex (or whatever you call it). I know you’re kinda over there across I30, but the construction is almost done, right? I should have known they’d finish it. It’s funny how those projects take so long you might think they’re just taking the whole road out. And yet traffic manages to make it through nonetheless. And then one day the cones are gone and there’s an extra lane of traffic. No smoother than before, which always makes one wonder, “What’s the point?” Because that one lane will fill up just like the others did, all that traffic required to keep it a Metroplex and not just two little towns that happen to be kinda close to one another. And I’m sorry if I don’t really want to have to do with you, either, Ft. Worth. It’s just your I30 (mid-cities notwithstanding) makes my back alleys look rather foolish and dirty.