Love Letters to Cities Every Brown Girl Dates

Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, “I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.”

– Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit promiscuous when it comes to dating cities. Spending the day with one and waking up with another has become a way of life. There are a lot of cities in the sea and I can’t help but fall in love with their skylines and cheap dines.

Within my heart dwell grand ballads of lost beloveds, wanting ventures, and cringe-worthy romances – so sit back and enjoy the dished dirt on some of my paramours.

Montreal – A Cheap Knockoff of Parisian Love

montreal

After countless hours spent scrolling the Instagram pages of your cute cafes, I decided to meet you in a small French restaurant. You ordered without asking what I wanted and talked about yourself the whole time. You even “went to the bathroom” when the bill came. And to think the rave about your good looks and high education from friends had me wearing heels on cobblestone. I was head over heels (literally). When I declined to spend the night at yours, you walked off with a smirk. Sorry, but no pics of your Mount Royal could get me to bed avec tu.

Istanbul: The Teenage Tinder Dream

What are pants? #zahratravels

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We matched while still trying to find ourselves after graduation. Half Asian and half European, you were as cute as you were careless. I often reminisce about the times we found liquid courage and got matching henna tattoos when we were supposed to be museum hopping. I miss how everything was so in the moment with us. But that’s the thing with moments, they end. Do you still remember me? Let’s catch up sometime?

Mumbai: A Bollywood Romance

Like every Bollywood flick, our eyes met across the room and you paid for my chaiWe had so much in common, from history and culture to tongue and taste. You were spicy and so full of life. Follow that with an innocent dance number at Marine Drive in mid-traffic, we knew our time together would expire soon. Our difference in castes rooted our families’ disapproval. The day mom caught us having pani puri by the Gate, our meetings became forbidden. What next? Obviously, a lurking threat for an arranged marriage. How are you? Do you miss me? 

Dubai – A Forced Affair

Sultaan de la dessert #dubai #safari #vacationmode

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Speaking of arranged marriages, aunties are still on my tail about you. They assumed you were Mr.Perfect from the seems of your WhatsApp biodata. “He’s hot and rich, what else do you need?” If I didn’t want to give up my Western lifestyle and still be able to delve into halal food, you could make it happen. You really were hot and I’m not going to lie, the flashy cars and dessert stars caught me off guard. We would spend all night talking about how you were a self-made man but I deleted your number when I found out you exploited others to make it happen. I hope you realize money can’t buy everything. Now, when we cross paths on our way to other lovers, you pretend like I don’t exist. I still hope you’re well. 

A Hook Up With Havana

All my friends told me you were a crazy womanizer but I wasn’t buying it. There had to be more to you. The conversations we had about communism and Hemmingway’s poetry still keep me up at night. You held me like I was the prettiest girl in the world and the way you swept me off my feet in the middle of the street left me dumb. It’s strange how I have so many pictures of our time together yet such little memories of us. Thank you for being so unapologetically yourself.

Dallas: The Trump Supporting Co-Worker

You had the big house and the nice car and I never understood why someone so much older would be so into me. You told me I was really pretty for a brown girl and I didn’t know how to take it. I hope you know I was only playing along because I didn’t want to come off unprofessional. But now that I have your attention, fuck you.

Toronto: The One (or the 6ix)?

toronto skyline

I don’t know what it is about you that keeps me coming back. When we met for the first time, I had no understanding of what romantic love was. I was too young for anyone to take us seriously, so I waited – waited and dated others until our spark grew a flame. At 17 you asked me out, took me to the nicest places and introduced me to the best of people.

I confess my wanderlust drags distance between us but we have years under our belts and it’s you I think of when I’m lost. I always thought you were the one, but this year has changed my outlook on so many things that I’m not sure where we go from here. Let’s give it another chance and see!

xox,

Zahra

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