Oh, Fayetteville. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I thought our relationship would be short-lived. I thought we'd share four magical years together, and then I'd move back to where I belong. I thought you were merely a college town, a short stop on the road that is life. A place study, a place to party, and a place to outgrow.
I spent our first several months together overlooking you. I longed for Little Rock, my family and friends there. You were fine, Fayetteville, but you were a means to an end. Sure, your campus was pretty. Your Hogs were wonderful. But you were small. You were old. You didn't have the stores I liked and you didn't have the restaurants I liked. You weren't fast-paced enough, you weren't big enough. You were fine, but you weren't my town.
As graduation loomed, I wasn't sure I wanted to leave you, Fayetteville. I felt like we had business to finish. I felt like we weren't quite done with each other. I wanted to move back to Little Rock to be with my family. My husband's departure for his second tour of duty in Iraq was imminent. I had a three year old to raise alone for 18 months. I knew that would all go so much easier if I were close to my parents and my in-laws. But something about you made me stay, Fayetteville. I didn't appreciate you then like I do now, but I was starting to.
As if to validate that our relationship was to be long term, I bought a house here, Fayetteville. It's nowhere near where I want to live now, but I didn't know you as well then. I just knew I wanted to be here. I wasn't sure why I did it at the time, but now I know. I couldn't leave.
You haven't always made this easy, Fayetteville. With your epic ice storms, your 18 inches of snow, your crazy spring weather, and your constant wind. Oh, the wind. I don't even notice it now, but it never stops blowing. You're never still, Fayetteville. Maybe that's why we get along so well.
And you're weird, Fayetteville. Funky, the city offices call you. I agree. You are home to top level corporate executives, a bike rally, a major university, an annual gay pride parade, a Farmers Market that puts others to shame, a nationally recognized library, numerous trails, and the absolute best fall foliage hands down.
I can't wait to be even closer to the heart of you, Fayetteville. I can't wait to live in the middle of the action. I love your old houses, your downtown flavor. I can't wait to have a piece of that to call my own, a long term place to raise my family. I cannot predict where my life will take me, Fayetteville, but I know it will never take me far from you.
Pure as the dawn, on the brow of thy beauty. Watches thy soul from the mountains of God.