I'm closer to these girlfriends and others that I have desperately missed. I'm attending class again, and that especially feels wonderful. It's only been a year since I graduated, but I'm one of those nerdy people who likes class. I'm close to the mall and the bookstore and the hip little frozen yogurt place, all of which are hard on my meager bank account.
I love being there, but the whole time I'm there, I'm desperately missing home. I spend my remaining three days a week back at home. It's what I need. I need to play with my dog and cuddle with my cat. I need my mother to insist I come over for dinner and try some new recipe she's concocted. After four days of frozen dinners and fast food, I just need a homecooked meal. I need to hug on my Lizard. That's my baby sister in case you missed her introduction. I need to sleep in my own bed and trip over my crap in the floor. I try to be neater when I'm couch surfing at my girlfriends' place. I need to talk to my daddy and let him show me the latest trash he's found on the internet. This weekend, it's Mighty Boosh. I don't recommend watching it, but if you must, start with Old Gregg. I need to visit with my Gramma and tell her how much I love her. I need my brother to text me at three a.m. to ask me if I'm home.
Life is different here in a small town. It's not just the pace, which is admittly much slower. Life in a small town is about family. It's about community. It's about the owner of the bar where you go for lunch asking how your boyfriend is doing in school. It's about showing off the cover art of your new book to your mechanic and your seventh grade science teacher at the same time. Life here is about knowing that you're part of a whole. Sure, you're as much an individual here as you are in a city of 160,000 people. The difference is you're not just that individual. You matter as part of the whole here in a small town.
You're not another cog in the machine or the strange guy who lives in the apartment upstairs who tap dances at all hours of the night. You are your parents' child, your siblings' sibling. You're the sweet kid who stuck quarters in the jukebox at the diner and made her daddy dance with her. You're the woman who takes home every stray animal in town. You're the teenager who painted the water tower. You're the man who ran his car through the store.
You are who you are. People know you. They care about you as much as you care about them. They know when you skipped church to go floating on the river or bought a pregnancy test because your period was late. They know when you break up and when you hook up. They know when you missed your curfew and call your dad to tell him who you were with.
To some people, life in a small town is horrifying. Everyone knowing their business is an invasion to their privacy. To every teenager who grows up here, the small town is something to escape. Quickly. Some of us can't live without it, though. I'm one of them. Here at home, things just make sense.
Tell me, do you live in a small town or big city? What do you love about where you live?