Dear Missoula,

You know you’ve been my home girl for a while now. You wooed me way back in the winter of ’96 with snow up to my waist, warm coffee shops with board games and bars with cigarette smoke, back when that was cool. Even then I loved the drag racing down Higgins, boys in trucks and rodeos on the coldest night you could conjure. I left you in May that year, heading West and promising I’d return. I’ve crossed the country a few times for you since then. I started calling you home ten years ago, and really, I never thought I’d be so lucky. We’ve had our ups and downs, it’s true. But I’ve always come home to you. So today when I looked out my back door and saw the snow line 50 feet above the valley floor I had to wonder if I’d done something to make you angry. Did you overhear me talking about San Francisco? She’s fine, no doubt. But, girl, she’s got nothing on you.

Seeing snow the first week of June has got me thinking, though. Girl, how do I say this? It’s not me, it’s you. Maybe we need some time apart. Maybe we need to see other people. I’m not saying break up, I’m not ready for that. I just want to have a little fun and, really, snow in June isn’t my idea of fun. So I’m writing to tell you I have a hot date Friday night. With Portland.

I know how you feel about her. You are often compared to her, even called her little sister. I’m sorry girl, I just can’t help it. I know what you’re going to say. It’s probably raining there and I know you are right but at least it’s not snow. And let’s be honest even with all that rain, she’s got city on her side. And she’ll probably wear funky glasses. You know what they say, girl, all the hot girls there wear glasses.

If that doesn’t work out I’ve also got my eye on Asheville. We’re going to meet up in a couple of weeks. What can I say? She called. I called her back. I haven’t seen her in a while but I remember her all tank tops and long wavy hair. I know. Not to mention she’s all Appalachian and shit. Girl…

Did I forget to tell you that Asheville thinks June means summer? She thinks June means sun and warm nights down by the river. Just sayin’ girl. Warm nights down by the river.

I remember some of those, you and me. I know you’ve got it in you.

I’ll give you a call when I get back. Hopefully the snows will have melted by then.


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