When I was twenty-nine, I was accepted into the MFA program in creative writing at Wichita State University. With high hopes, a little fear, and much sadness, I packed my Nissan pickup. For two years, I’d lived in the small seaside town of Half Moon Bay, California. Never in my life had I lived in such natural beauty. White-capped waves crashed on white sandy beaches, windblown cypress crowned rugged bluffs, and poppies dotted grassy hillsides. Warm sun relentlessly battled cool fog for control of the sky while farmers grew field after field of snapdragons, artichokes, pumpkins, and strawberries. Amid all this beauty was a gentle loving man who’d shared his life with me, and who would remain in Half Moon Bay.
As I drove down Main Street past Cunha’s Country Store on that sunny January morning, I fought hard not to mourn all I was leaving behind. I instead tried to focus on what lay ahead in Wichita.