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“Contemporary nostalgia is not so much about the past as about vanishing the present.”
-Svetlana Boym

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Tattoos on this town

I remember crying on the phone to my mom after I learned that I had an additional semester to complete, delaying my graduation. She assured me that no one was judging me, assuming the tears were from embarrassment. I kept repeating how exhausted I was, how exhausting it was being in Utah. She didn’t quite understand, and I don’t blame her. She wasn’t there. She couldn’t see the daily torture I experienced living on the graveyard of our relationship.

At the time of our earlier days I went out of my way to establish a sense of us on every street corner within a 100-mile radius, a trick to keep me always in your thoughts. We kissed in every church parking lot. We hiked to every scenic look out. We tainted the mall and the movie theater and the campus and the parks until all the roads in every direction lead back to a moment in time when we existed as one.

The happiest I had ever been in Provo, Utah since that summer of 2007 was December 18th 2011: moving day. Flooded with nothing but relief I packed my VW Bug and made my way westward. The overwhelming memory of us finally became contained in the lens of my rearview mirror as I drove beyond the haunting grasps of our ghosts.

Even now when I travel back to my college town I can feel my heart seize as I cross the Orem/Provo border. The edges of the town have been re-drawn and revamped with CVS and Chick-fil-a, but the feeling has been preserved perfectly. Faintly visible through strokes of new paint hastily applied are the remains of the old, the tattoos we left on this town.

Everywhere, there we are,
It hits me right in my heart.

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