Dear Baton Rouge,
I didn't expect to stay long.
Four years was it for me in the beginning. I'd bide my time, get a degree, and go back to the city that really needed me: New Orleans. She was the one still reeling from Katrina. She was the one who harbored the ones I loved. She was the only place I had ever known and the only place I ever thought I'd need. Ninety miles away was too far at first, but somehow it became not far away enough.
Somewhere along this crazy, silly, wonderful ride of the last eight years I fell in love with you. First in a begrudging sort of way, but then wholly. Your families invited me into their homes. You gave me a place I could blossom spiritually. You made me face my fears and failures and somehow pulled me up from the bootstraps when I thought I was done. You took a young man from New Orleans, turned him into an adult, then back into a kid again. I have a life here now. A niche I carved. The first, fledgling marks I've left on this world by myself. And it's because of you. All because of you.
The metrics will say you're not the ideal place to live. There's too much traffic, politics, and infighting to build something here. But that's the beauty of Home. The crystalline paragon we share in our minds is singularly different to each one of us, the feelings and thoughts and emotions that define "Home" are literally one in a billion. And in you I've found a Home, reinforced by every hour of every day I give to the city. A literal labor of love, imprinted upon my heart for a lifetime and forever more.
Someday I'll go. And it'll hurt. After all it's hard to look true love in the eye and leave. But dreams are dreams no matter how bad they make your heart bleed, and I've got to chase them. You should know that about me by now. But every flash of purple and gold, every hymn sang to the heavens, even every maddening traffic jam will bring me back, if only for a second. I'll be there wishing, waiting for an operator to put me on the line. To Baton Rouge. Sweet Baton Rouge. My Baton Rouge.