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by Jamie Berube Last Sunday night I talked to my best friend on the phone for four hours. Our conversation was full of nonsense and thoughtfulness and sprinkled with plenty of bad jokes followed by fits of laughing; it was a good talk that we both needed. It's hard being far away from your best friend. She lives in Florida, 2,500 miles away from my West coast home. It would take more than a long telephone conversation to compensate for the year that's gone by since we've spoken face to face, but it lessens the sting of long distance to just hear her voice. And it makes me feel like I'm back in Florida, sitting with her and a glass of Merlot on my mom's front porch late on a summer night. Sometimes I'm jealous that she still lives in the town where we grew up - the place where I wept through adolescence, had my first kiss, and learned how to drive through tropical storms and hurricanes; hearing her voice makes me miss my Southern roots. But like any twenty something aspiring writer with a slightly wounded past, I have a confusing and conflicted relationship with the place where I grew up. If you've read writers like Dave Eggers

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by Jamie Berube It’s 10 a.m., and I haven’t showered. A lazy Sunday ponytail and my blue and orange Florida football shirt make me dreamy with thoughts of home. I think back to a moment two years ago in which I sat in my mother’s kitchen with a bowl of cheerios before church, prayin’ to Jesus for no rain. “You’re a California girl now, cut it out.” The newly–made, sun-kissed Southern California girl mindset of mine fights against those memories. As I cruise a familiar, sleepy street in the urban sprawl of Orange County, I flip on the radio. Then it happens. I hear “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynryd Skynyrd, and it doesn’t matter that my hair’s a mess; and I haven’t showered today. The rugged 1970’s guitar riffs, and the image of the band in their black cowboy hats and bell bottoms awaken the Southern twang in my soul; and all I want is to be eating BBQ by the river where my roots lie. I should not admit this publicly. The refined So Cal elites and West Coast bros may never forgive me for what I’m about to confess. I miss the South. I let my car windows down and take my foot off the gas a bit.

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