Friday, January 06, 2006


December 4

Dear Wichita,

Anna showed up fashionably late for coffee at Hock’s yesterday. She was wearing a Gore-tex jacket, her hair hidden under a trendy knitted hat. Her earphones were tucked inside the hat.



“What are you listening to?”

“Joni Mitchell, her Both Sides Now re-issue.”

“Is that the one with the painting of her smoking on the cover?”

“Yea. It’s a good album. Doesn’t feel as old as it should.”

We drank coffee and chatted about random things, music, news, the weather. Of course we talked about the weather.

She has bright, busy eyes. They flick around, watching people for split seconds and then moving off again. I found it kind of distracting at first, but she always looked me in the eye when I was saying something.

Her job was okay, her commute was decent, and the people she worked with didn’t play too many games. She wanted to know more about Kansas, why I was way out west instead of, as she smilingly said it, “at home driving a combine.”

“Not every one from Kansas drives a combine you know. Does everyone from Seattle listen to Nirvana?”

“I know I know.”

“Sheesh. No I came out west for a change of scenery. I wasn’t feeling like I fit it so well anymore. In Wichita I mean.”

“Why not?”

“Ah, um. Well I wanted to get more into the arts scene, especially photography, and Wichita is a little red-neckish when it comes to that kinda thing.” I think my eyes flicked.

She nodded, looking at me intently.

I shifted in my seat, looked out the window.


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