Dear Billy,

The last time I remember us together was February 29, 2020, right before the COVID-19 shut down. We ran into each other the night of the Mr. Humboldt pageant, remember? It was late, I came out of Everett’s to get some air and there you were.  I saw you from the back, a light snow was falling from the sky.  Snow in Arcata, I couldn’t believe it, it felt like a sign.  I called your name but you didn’t respond, you never do.  I was overcome with emotion and did the first thing that came to mind, a snowball right to your groin.  You stood there cold and unmoving, hand outstretched like you were reaching for mine, but we never quite connected.  It wasn’t soon after that you were run out of town for your hateful words and bigotry, and to be honest, I was glad to be rid of you.

Imagine my surprise running into you on my work trip this past week in Canton, Ohio.  I remembered you mentioning your ex, Ida, lived there.  I was not expecting to see you outside the courthouse, in that same jacket, the same outstretched hand as if calling to mine.  I was transfixed, gazed upon your eyes, memories of our times together came flooding back; the farmers market, oyster fest, samba parade, arts alive.  Oh, what fun we used to have!  I couldn’t help wondering how you’ve been since we last saw each other.  Your coat looked shinier, your shoulders broader.  Have you been working out? Your plaque’s been updated, your location closer to your family and loved ones.  Have you moved on, as I have tried to do?  Have you found happiness?

Seeing you again has made me realize how much time has passed since we parted ways.  Life has a way of moving forward and people have a way of finding their place.  As we move forward, I hope you have found peace and remember the place of your conception, and ultimate rejection, with the mixed emotions you’ve left many of us with.

Warm Regards,
Your Ex

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Pictured: Heather Ballinger, author of the above letter, along with her co-workers Jennifer Coriell and Jeff Michael. Scroll down for more highlights from their McKinley-themed sightseeing adventures their recent trip to Canton, Ohio