Buffalo People

Soon, I will go to Buffalo.

Soon, I will pack my son’s suit, and for myself, perhaps something understated yet elegant, probably sleeveless, and some fashionable heels. Soon, I will drive my aging SUV from Chicago along the trembling lower lip of the Great Lakes, the waters that tumble within me. Quickly, we will pass the scabs of outlying urban decay, not even remember the smokestacks of Gary and Hammond, as platoons of corn nearly four feet high line up for miles and miles and miles.

Sideways Eiffel Towers spray the crops with life-giving water. Only red barns, perfect as postcards, occasionally will freckle the land for more than 150 miles, even as we cross into Ohio.

Relief from all this sweetness will come when we stop near a clump of nondescript buildings called Toledo. Maybe then my son Nick will take the wheel, his fresh learner’s permit folded in his back pocket. Off we will go.

In a memoir written in the future tense, essayist Julianne Hill meditates on love, loss and restoration as she anticipates a cross-country trip in this award-winning piece.

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Publication: The Round, Brown University

Date: Fall 2012

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