from The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

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It is marvelous to be young on a big-city street. p 226

Dear MH,

Thank you for letting me come and stay with you for a few days. It was a much needed respite from the busyness of life here. Your new house is lovely and I can see why you both wanted to live there. I so enjoyed walking in the fields and your wide open spaces. It reminded me a bit of being at home. Yet, as much as I love Vermont, we aren’t as close to the water as you are. Why is it that when I get near a beach I can instantly feel my breathing sync with the waves? I can only imagine what life would be like if I had daily access to the ocean, I don’t know if I could ever find a house big enough for all the rocks that I would pick up. I find them completely irresistible and having one in my pocket is such a comfort.

I had so much fun sitting up late each night and talking about everything with you. We definitely made up for lost time. You were a lovely hostess, and I enjoyed all of the meals you created. Thank you for remembering how much I love seafood. And sitting with you eating the artichokes while we chatted and watched the sun set feels like an especially dear memory.

And speaking of food, you will be pleased to know that the doughnuts were well received and that there are a few bagels left—but I feel their days are numbered. You have such great food available to you, and I am more than a little envious of your food trucks. Maybe the next time I come back we can go on a tour and schedule a visit at each of them. For now I will be content in remembering our lunch at the Mexican place. If only I had a fish taco and a piece of pineapple covered in chili-lime powder in front of me right now.

That’s what I love about cities, and yours in particular. Standing amidst the bustle I can sense the vibrancy and vitality, as if everyone were contributing to the pulsating energy that surrounds you. I adore street corners for both their predictability and sense of adventure. This is why I will keep coming back. For the stores—especially the bookstores— the tall buildings, the woman selling her paintings on the sidewalk and the mystery of people living in the apartments above it all.

Sincerely,

your friend the country mouse

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