Of Sereneca it is said, "A city of sand built on water," and rightfully so. She never sits still, except when she is about to shatter into a flurry of motion, hurricane of events, sweeping like a sandstorm or a current. Her shapes are constantly twisting, eluding your fingers, tricking your sight, all the while letting you believe your senses are in control. It is what makes her irresistible.
Should you attempt to control her, beware! - for no one can claim to know all of her. Those who have seen her once may not recognize her upon their second visit. Those who left her for but a week may find their favorite place changed - yes, and even those who live there feel lost in the morning sometimes.
Sereneca is alive and moves constantly so as to prove it. Streets disappear, rivers change their course and then get back, leaving gardens become channels, right next to playgrounds transformed into tennis courts magically turned into soccer fields. Houses are reborn as business centers or tall fashionable apartment blocks, while market stalls grow overnight into a mall, which claims for its own a crossing that once belonged to a hotel across the street.
There are also changes you may not remember. Landmarks destroyed, old demolished buildings restored, museums transported into palaces out of town so that the courthouse would once again reside in the courthouse. Your grandfather's house was destroyed by the bombs of a war and there is now a hotel in its place; the streets you would have longed to wander on were demolished and rebuilt beyond recognition thereafter. The ruins of an ancient city remind you that Sereneca has been changing since her birth.
Some things do seem to remain the same. The ice cream house, the book market, the Apartment (where, no matter who you are, you can just walk in, sit, and talk - perhaps, if you are so inclined, buy something from the kitchen as well, - and then leave), the little plaza on that street and the cars parked on the sidewalk. There are things, you feel, that will always be there.
Yet even they change, in a way, because this is Sereneca. The ice cream house will never again be the same after you sat there with that boy and the book market is just as it was when you were five, but you will probably never again buy a book from the vendors, not since Orange; the Apartment is so different now that you have seen it so many times, and the plaza has transformed into the place where you sat with your best friends on a beautiful day. How precious these places are to you now! And how much more precious they are when you know that, should you return, Sereneca will change them, adding more or striping them down, because such is her nature.
Dreams change. Paths trod on for years fade forgotten, new pathways are paved for bikers who then prefer to walk. Colors change, memories change. A song that used to boom from the speakers there can now be heard playing softly in a candle shop there. The corner where you bought colorful paper is now the corner where you turn on your way to the orange bookstore, which is different from Orange, the bookstore. The playground with the huge marble slides is now the playground with those marble slides that once seemed huge, and it will never again be as it was then.
Sereneca is built on water and moves like water. Some of her inhabitants are afraid to close their eyes for as much as a minute.
"The surest way to lose Sereneca," they say, "is to try and imagine what she is. By the time you have fixed her image, this one shape of her will no longer be there."
Sereneca, they would tell you, has all those ages survived as herself, Sereneca, only because she has never once seized to change.
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