Facing North (2005)

Chapter Two

Once I Had a Sweetheart

She had not been in town very long, drifting there on her way east. As cities go, it was big enough, seemed to have something going on—you feel that kind of thing in the air and you see it in the turn of the rivers, hills behind hills, houses, steeples and belching factory stacks coming into view and disappearing behind statues, trees, gleaming Russian domes, more steeples and other hills. They weren’t mountains by any means, but for a girl who’d headed out from eastern Oklahoma, they were as good mountains as she’d ever seen. A little like home, but more closed in. Besides, it was prettier than Cleveland, and loaded with rivers, though it lacked a lake. She thought again that it had probably been Cincinnati, not Cleveland; but when she realized she had chosen wrong, she moved on. He never stayed any place long. With three rivers in one city, Pittsburgh felt like a sure thing.

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