I Don’t Want Another Tucson (Part One of the Dream Series)

There, at the Firehouse Subs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we unwrapped subs and blasted the FJ’s AC. The phone rang through the speakers and I stopped eating. It was the Air Force. The man on the other end of the line knew our fate.

I held my breath and thought of all my dream places: Great Falls, Montana; Spokane, Washington; Mountain Home, Idaho; Phoenix, Arizona; California; South Carolina; Germany; England.

I’d even take Minot, but I have my dream places, too.

When the man on the other end of the line said, “Davis-Motham,” Zach and I both asked, “where is that?”

The man didn’t know. He checked and said, “Tucson. Looks like the Air Force needs you in Tucson.”

Zach wasn’t so sure about Tucson, but I swiftly pointed out all the great things about Tucson – a place I’ve never visited. I explained how the mountains rise sharply out of the valley and how the saguaro and ocotillo color the desert. We looked up the Davis-Motham base website. Zach knew a few guys on staff at the Chapel. We were intrigued by the plane graveyard and the way the heat quivered on the horizon, even in photos.

“It’ll be oven-hot,” some people said. My parents worried about border drama. I welcomed the promise of dry heat and calculated the distance between Tucson and home. For every negative factoid thrown my way, I tossed back positivity. Zach began to like the idea of Tucson.

It wasn’t Phoenix, but it was close enough.

I made a Pinterest board called “Tucson” and delighted myself in my imaginary new home. I began to change my style to suit the desert. I looked up restaurants and must-see attractions. I even bought a new journal covered in cacti art.

Now, every time I open that journal, I recall the dream that slipped away like desert sand.

You see, the man on the other end of the line took a long time in calling back. The wait made me anxious. With white knuckles, I gripped my Tucson dream. When the man finally called again, the assignment had changed.


And, to be honest, expected.

Still, I mourned Tucson. (Sometimes I still do.)

I made a Pinterest board called “Montgomery.” I relocated my imaginary new home to Montgomery, redesigned the exterior, and traded cacti for magnolias. I learned to love the idea of returning to the South.

With open hands, I accepted the a dream. The relaxed posture felt familiar.

To Be Continued…






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