412 Sam Whalen


It the peak of a whirlwind romance, my partner and I made the irrational decision to move to Philadelphia together. Actually, I had made the decision to move here and had convinced him to come along because (as we sometimes do when we have fallen too quickly in love) he had made the claim that he would follow me wherever I needed to go. I needed to be in Philadelphia. I didn’t have any really reason for needing to be here: no job or school program waiting for me. I just had a feeling that whatever was waiting for me in my next phase of adulthood was waiting in Philadelphia and I needed to make moves. The weeks leading up to the journey were emotional rollercoasters, clashing jet streams of excitement and apprehension. Explosive storms between us become a regular occurrence. We made the journey across country in less than five days because we thought we could outrun the wind and if we just got to Philadelphia, things might feel better. We gave it all we could but Philadelphia in the winter isn’t kind to Pacific Northwest hearts. This city demands that you develop thick skin, that you equally engage with the beautiful and ugly parts… that you be prepared for anything. Two days before he decided that this wasn’t his city, he found this BoyzIIMen cassette at a record shop on South St. He gave it to me because of my love of R&B but I couldn’t help but feel like it was an omen. He returned home and, in the months following, I found my reasons for why I felt so compelled to move to Philadelphia. The beauty of living somewhere seasonal is the reassurance that Spring will always come. ***