When I left town it was an unpopular decision with my friends. Flagstaff has a way of seeming perfect. It’s like Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. People talked about leaving Flagstaff all the time. The next day they would just grumble and pick up where they left off. My group of friends, who have been tight knit since the 6th grade, were feeling schadenfreude about my leaving. None of us have actually left. I was the first. I promised to keep in touch.
At the last minute Dirty Randy and I decided it would be cool if we only texted each other once a week. Each text would be written in the style of Civil War letters written on the home-front. It lasted for a while. Here is our conversation:
Brother, as I am writing this, I am under the Illinois stars. My, how beautiful they are. The missus and I are about a day’s drive from the City. The weather knows no end of this cold onslaught. If anything terrible were to happen, I fear to admit our finances are a yarn string away from having to turn back home.
Our Life with the missus and I is out to a tumultuous start, but, God willing, his angels have set us on the path of fortitude to prepare us for our future endeavors. I must go now, as our accommodations are ready, and I must rest up for the long trip to the Second City tomorrow.
I was eager to receive your parcel today. The weather has been equally unkind in our town too. Four feet of snow, I had to dig out Ol’ Miss Mayberry from across the street.
I am sorry to hear of your financial misgivings, but I believe that the Good Lord gives you only what you can handle. My dear friend, I have seen you strive through the toughest of times with finesse I have not seen in another.
A week gone and I already miss our conversations. Our town is a little less shining without you and yours among us. Our peculiar musings on the big questions of Life hold a special place in my heart as of late. My Fear is that our distance will sever a connection that took lifetimes to build. A brotherhood thicker than blood. My only solace is that you are happy in your grand adventures. I guess I just miss my friend.
It has been some time since I have last written. God sees fit to cast a blight of rough times on our road. We have, since my last correspondence, moved into a shabby dwelling. It is not fit for one person to reside in, let alone two. Our quarters have become a cramped situation that compresses me in every way. However our humble abode is right behind the general store, and across the street from the always open confectionery. Italian cuisine is caddy corner to the barbershop across the alley. I am indeed surrounded by supplies and will not be in dire need of many things for a while.
My betrothed has turned to a rather nasty mood. It seems every detail of my routine is suspect to her reckoning and I am the creator of all our misfortune. Hell hath no fury, my friend.
My patience is none more than a prized virtue in these tough times. I fear my beloved has begun to disdain me to my very core. Her inclinations towards aggressive negotiations combined with our atrociously freezing weather have begun to sap the warmth from my being.
Brother, I miss you as well. Our time together seems to have been a gift from our Creator. However, I shall not back down from my plight for fiscal independence because of some bad weather, and terrible manners. Though indeed yearning for home seems to have frostbitten my soul.
Class will soon be starting at the University, I cannot wait to attend. I wish you were able to cast aside some responsibilities of home and make way to Chicago to attend our illustrious Institution. It is you who tutored me through the finer points of high school after all. I would not be the College-man I am today without your vast intellect which carried me to the entrance of higher learning. I thank you.
I have good news. I have struck lucky at the market today. My boss has said he is promoting me to foreman of the warehouse. It includes a healthy raise, and gives me a chance to pursue a life of the mind. I fear I will not be able to attend your fine institution, but I will be expanding my wealth of knowledge with you in spirit.
I am sorry to learn of your sickly situation with your beloved. Travel and cohabitation are hard on the love of a courtship. I pray that you and yours find yourselves in good graces soon. I believe your love together is a force stronger than most have ever seen. I urge you to look within yourself and you might see the strength to which I refer.
I am in high spirits today, my friend. I look upon the San Francisco Peaks in the morning and feel an invigoration that quenches a thirst for life I did not know I had. I see the charcoal black sky at night and feel Providence under the moon and stars. I finally feel home. The Lord has blessed me with something I thought impossible in this land. I hope you are happy for me brother, as I was happy for you when you left.
I am eager to hear from you soon.
Gainfully Employed Slightly Cleaner Randall
I am ecstatic to say the least. Your hard work and determination have finally paid off in a county where gainful employment is harder to find than a south mossed rock. I pray for more good news upon confirmation of promotion.
University life is somewhat swell. My betrothed is flourishing in class. It is good to see her blossom when I once saw her strain to grow in our home town. I, however, am struggling to meet the expectations of my professors. I feel doubtful of my future as a scholar. My writings seem to dwell too much on the fantastical to my Professors’ chagrin. They don’t speak ill of my work, but they do not praise it either. I fear that I am but a salmon stuck in a pond with my studies.
Relations with me and mine are recovering from the unforgiving blight. Though we have not spoken vows, we hold ourselves accountable as if we have. It turns even the most unruly incident into an obstacle we can overcome. I fear for our future still. Vows are not wrought iron, and will can strain for so long till the levies of commitment and patience breaks. However God has sought to give me and my betrothed the stubbornness of Miss Mayberry’s mule. If our commitment ceases, so it seems, our heartbeats will too.
I look forward to reading your good news in the future.
For My Brother,
I am writing to you on a sad day. My warehouse is closing. I am without employment. I fear my promotion was a political ruse by my boss. His friend was the previous foreman before I was appointed. His friend now has my market job. I am not a very learned man, but I feel the gears of nepotism turning in the town.
How could I be so foolish, brother? To think that I could carve a life for myself. No man without silver in his blood can maintain a livelihood here. Am I to flounder because I have no copper mines in my family? Do I become a vagabond because I have no friends in the town establishments? Does my upstanding character and resourcefulness count for nothing in this place?
If I were to somehow stumble upon a goldmine, would it not matter because I am a second citizen here? Was I born to fail in this forsaken town?
I was mistaken in my last correspondence. This town is a Beast. The Peaks are nothing but a bauble to lure men into the jaws of Providence. Where manufactured misfortune keep the ungilded down in the stomach of vagrancy. The moon is the beasts eye. Always watching its prey.
I feel no more urge to continue this exchange.
Fuck this, let’s talk over Xbox Live.