It was always a golden city, even before I learned exactly what Black and Gold meant and why the sports fans were as crazed as in Boston. It was a golden city because each time I would be bleary eyed and exhausted, the sunlight would illuminate the staggered and defiant skyline for a second sunrise, the first having occurred somewhere between New Jersey and State College. (A pointless stop, I decided, and a pause for nothing more than for the bus to vomit off college kids, the numbers of which were generally few.) It was a golden city because I had won the lottery with a couple of new numbers I had never chosen before.
The Pittsburgh skyline looks like it could be from a Disney film, or even the Wizard of Oz, thanks to an imposing, mirrored building of which I still forget the name. A mirage in the concrete triangle of city blocks, arranged illogically. And regarding this building, I am guilty of the same behavior for which I chide others; those who misspell, forget or don’t bother with a name. Whether or not the building cares could be immaterial, but much like a face, I never forget a structure or a place. Especially as it ethereally captured moments, drew them within and sent them into the ether of time, space, molecules and memory. A day ice skating, laughing and falling and being chilled. The nervousness of teaching in an office for the first time. Self-doubt. A hand held, walking through and to the place where the three rivers converged for an afternoon in the sun, warmth radiating from within. The Christmas tree, the gingerbread houses and questions and horse rides and sweets and extra coffee. Love.
It has an imposing facade, always echoing laughter and tears and windstorms and frustration. I’ve walked past and worn sunglasses on a rainy day and cursed the gusts that blew my umbrella inside out from tired fingers. The building only ever looked golden in the sunrise and sunset and will always retain that aura in my memory.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”