Wyoming: Part II - The Story Behind The Poem
This is a poem I wrote very soon after returning from Wyoming to Georgia. I was only in Wyoming for 5 months - during this time I experienced -22 degree weather, neighbors who wanted nothing to do with me, a boss with really bizarre personality problems, and a very scary and real sense that I might not make it there.
On the weekends I hung out with Sarah, who worked in the "alcohol" section (it was a separate room) at Smith's Food King. She was (and, I'm sure, probably still is) down-to-earth, a bookworm, a writer (of short stories), beautifully awkward, funny, and was my best friend within 2,000 miles in all directions. She was the only person I met, while living in Riverton, who understood my sense of humor, understood almost all of the references I mentioned, and truly understood my desire to leave the moment I arrived. She, too, hated the ridiculous and two-faced culture surrounding us,but could not leave for the love of her mother - who required frequent and long-term attention.
And there was the woman at the airport cafeteria (I forget her name now, but knew it well then) who so often served me eggs over-hard with extra-crispy hash browns and hot sauce with a smile and got me through this very difficult time. Sometimes she would sit with me and we'd chat - our conversations are still among the best I've ever had. She was exhausted and without options. I told her about other places as she waved away the suggestions. She meant a lot to me. It is the airport cafe I visited 3 or 4 times a week that I mention in the poem.
I strongly believe there are places we don't belong. We get there and the air smells wrong, the people speak in uncomfortable tones, and you never get to exhale, not once as you try so hard to fit in and become part of the community.
But then, after 5 months of a jacket that couldn't keep me sufficiently warm, I returned to Georgia - to a new city (Augusta - to later return to Atlanta 4 years later) and a new beginning. I stepped off of the plane and breathed fresh air for the first time in months (though more polluted than the air in Wyoming). The flight attendant welcomed us to Georgia and, in my mind, I thought "I'm fucking home! Fuck Wyoming."