Sometimes I miss Montana, miss living deep in the mountains, miss the rolling Clark-Fork River being right there at the end of our street. You could ride your bike in the evening along path at the edge of the river, with the cottonwood puffs floating and the mountains rising and the sound of the water rushing by. Fairy-tale thoroughfare. We once saw an otter on his back, floating under the bridge, right through downtown. We lived there for three years. Everything smelled like pine and smoke, sharp and dry. I miss how small the town was, how bored I could get with it, how much I wished it would rain, how I would wander, lonely, around Butterfly Herbs half the afternoon, drinking smoothies and hoping to run into someone I knew. I was haughty and fragile. Intimidated. I tried to learn to knit and practically had a nervous breakdown. The leaves crunched dry in the Rattlesnake. I liked the path along the creek in Greenough Park, the little bridge there, the weeds and wildflowers that grew in the front yards of houses near the railroad tracks on the north side of town. Everything was glinting and strange, the light different, clearer and more harsh than it had been in Illinois. I didn't own a car. I taught tried to teach college freshmen how to write argumentative essays. After the first semester I prohibited all argumentative essays about legalizing pot (this was a favorite freshman topic; there are only so many why-marijuana-should-be-legal thesis statements you can read without wanting to clonk stoner freshmen heads together, which I assume is also illegal). We had no money. On the last morning of the month I scoured every pocket and looked through every book bag in the house, trying to find enough change to get a cup of coffee on my way to school; no luck. Found a dollar in the snow, right in the middle of the street in front of Food for Thought, and could hardly believe it. We babysat for a lady with two little boys, one of whom couldn't speak. I still remember his name, and how sweet he was, how she cuddled him, how he liked to watch the movie Fantasia over and over again. I worked at Penney's in the home dec department, and folded fluffy new towels into thirds (strangely satisfying). Andy worked in a rock quarry. He would drive out and pick me up in the truck after work. We went everywhere, so happy to finally be living together, giddy with this. It would stay light so late in the summertime. I remember one night when we were walking home late from the bar and this guy on a bicycle suddenly flew past us and nailed the curb head-on, knocking the chain off his bike and himself flat. He jumped right up and, totally hammered, tried for several minutes to nonchalantly ride the bike with the chain clanging and hanging like a necklace around the pedals (pedaling furiously, going nowhere). Then he crashed straight on through the underbrush of the embankment and disappeared. Andy and I stared at each other in amazement — what in the heck? — and fell over laughing. I remember the hollyhocks that bloomed all down the alley between our apartment and the Orange Street Food Farm, the teetering platform of wooden boards Andy built for Violet so she could jump into our window from the dark green tangle of our side yard, the way that the sun set pink behind the purple mountains, so pretty it could make you cry.