Yalei Wang has tried, but she’s had enough. She’s leaving Melbourne…and this time, it’s for good.


Dear Melbourne,

You’ve been good. There’s something about you that no other cities have. You’ve got the sheen of any international city, but you’re petite enough to fit into the fold of my hand. You really are a jewel. You produce individuals who excel, who boast international careers, but will still go to the milk bar to buy a meat pie. You roll with the big guns and people know who you are. I belonged here for the years leading up to this breakup.

But I’m leaving in September and I’m never coming back.

Here’s what’s wrong with you. You never gave me a chance to be that person that I dreamed of being. You favoured the looks, the talents, the offerings of everybody else and ignored the person who loved you in the beginning. Being with you feels like being ground into the dirt by your red high heel. You are so good at giving people what they want, but you excel at making them feel like they can’t leave. That you are the best they can do. People say you’re the most liveable city in the world, but that’s just your good looks. Underneath that, your personality is…bland, uninspiring, provincial.

All my friends say it. The ones who don’t fall under your spell anymore. When you’re good, you’re so good. You’re like that feeling between tipsy and drunk when the ridges of life blur and living feels like the smoothness of chocolate melting on the tongue. When you’re bad, you can shatter even the most iron-clad optimism.

People are impressed with the fact that I am leaving you. To get as far away from you as possible. To those who love this city and think I’m talking crazy, good for you. I mean that…because you’re lucky to not have this dim, grey cloud of pure helplessness hang over your head like a hat every morning.

We’ve been together too long.

You might be OK with it, but I’m definitely not.

The thing is, I’d stay if you would just listen to me more. If you’d just look me in the eye and let me know why things became so awry. But you trail off with the others down Little Collins after too many wines avoiding confrontation. You’d do anything to avoid getting to the bottom of things.

So I’m saying this to you now. You’ve ruined it. You’ve ruined us. You’ve neglected me for far too long. No more rejected job applications, manuscripts and missed opportunities. I know that Tokyo will appreciate me more than you ever did. I really did open up my chest and offer you my heart on a silver platter.

But it didn’t mean anything to you. And now you mean nothing to me.


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