The Call of the Desert
I spent my whole life wanting to leave. Leave the small town where nothing happened. Leave the comfortable life I had been used to. Leave the place where everyone was only a degree or two separated. Leave the heat. Leave the wind. Leave the scorched earth. Leave the endless and relentless sun.
What I really wanted was to leave the desert.
And so that is what I did.
Boston. The ivy, the brick, the 'T', the history. It was a city just large enough for me to fall in love with. And I fell hard. But as all love stories go, there has to be heartache and loss and Boston and I just couldn't make it work. My wallet couldn't support Boston's relentless need for more and when there was no way I could provide, we had to go our separate ways.
That's when Michigan entered my life. The freshness, the color, the green. The beautiful, never ending green. It took my breath away. The snow that covered the world in the purest blanket. But how was I supposed to know it was just a rebound? Everything about it consumed me and I was infatuated. Then the honeymoon phase fell away and the cold and the black started to ice my heart over. The blanket of snow turned to a brown hopeless slush and drowned my mind, muted my colors, and darkened my mood.
Five years I forced myself to make it work and I have to say it wasn't all bad. We drank, we ate, and oh did we have the most amazing friends. I even tried to prolong my stay but in my heart I knew we weren't meant to be. I had to get out. I had to breathe and smile and laugh again. I had to live and not just freeze. It was bittersweet and I cried for the amazing times we had because it is always better to love and loss than to never love at all. And we truly did love each other, Michigan and I. It turns out it was just a deep friendship rather than true love.
So I started the search for new loves. Signed on to the universe's equivalent of Match.com and searched. I went on plenty of dates and considered Indiana, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, and even New Mexico, the desert I used to hate so much. And then Arizona made an unexpected appearance. It was a quick courtship. A mere couple of weeks and the next thing I knew, I was packing and moving across the country.
Back to the desert I went.
And there it was. The heat, the wind, the scorched earth, the relentless sun. I bathed in the heat and took in the dust and smiled for it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. To the deepest levels of my soul I felt whole.
And I was excited but also scared to reconnect with the desert. We didn't leave on the best terms, the desert and I. I left cursing its name and promising I'd never return. Yes, it wasn't the exact same desert but deserts talk. What I did to one, I did to all. How could the desert possibly love me after all these years? After I abandoned it, an angry child.
But when I got there, the desert just smiled at me and welcomed me home.