For seven years, I’ve been in a long-distance relationship with Minneapolis. Holidays were never long enough. I eagerly plotted my return, the neighborhood I would live in, the books I would carry to rose garden picnics. I networked. I made long-term plans with friends. My ballots have been absentee for my entire voting life, my direct deposits traveling halfway across the continent. When I renewed my driver’s license last year, I made sure to do it while I was home for Christmas, theorizing that I’d be back soon and wouldn’t want to deal with taking the test all over again.
“Your address is still current?” the friendly DMV lady chirped. I paused, and she looked up at me with big blue eyes.
“Correct,” I said. “Edina, Minnesota.”
My party trick was to single out fellow Midwesterners. They didn’t have to have an accent, and they could be complete strangers, observed from a distance: I just knew. I took this to be a sign from a higher power.
“You know what I just noticed,” I said to Jurvis’ family during a ride in Connecticut. “You guys don’t have any ramblers here.”
“What’s a rambler?” they said.
Ah, home! I found homesickness in a body of water, within the publishing house information on first pages, in phone calls and emails and Facebook updates. I scanned through Flickr groups and booked flights. Every reminder of Minnesota’s existence was a call to return.
The other day I was biking home from a day spent in Davis Square. And suddenly it hit me: we haven’t had a car here in nearly a year — and yet I’ve never felt so free to get where I need to go. I haven’t worked in an office in months, and yet I’ve never gotten so much done. I have my favorite places, my favorite routes, my favorite way to conduct everyday life, and it feels as though it’s all becoming ingrained as a part of me.
I stopped and glanced through a parting in the treetops, where the Boston skyline hovered.