Tallahassee: you either love it or you hate it — there is no in between. Whether this is your first year in the city or you’re about to graduate and leave it behind, there is no denying that this place has left a mark on you. This is for the (overly) sentimental Collegiettes and those who hold Tally close to their hearts.
I can never seem to escape you. After all this time, I thought I would have had enough. I thought we would both realize we had shared a beautiful thing, but there was nothing left to experience. I thought our relationship had run its course and it was time we went our separate ways. Yet here I am, right in the middle of your warm, familiar embrace. And after all this time, there is no place I would rather be.
I don’t think you get the credit you deserve, Tallahassee. It seems as though the backdrops in poetry, movies, and novels are saved for the so-called romantic cities. The ones where people go to fall in love. The cities that never sleep. The ones people dream of moving to because their hometown seems bleak in comparison. Cities like New York and Paris. The names alone elicit pictures of grandeur. They fuel our wanderlust and draw us in with promises of great adventures. While I admit I myself have fallen victim to such daydreams (even I hope to move to a big city one day… don’t be too mad), my heart will always hold a special place for you, Tallahassee. My little northern Florida city that has been with me through it all. You may not have the brightest city lights or the most to offer, but you make up for that in character. Amidst the praise of other cities, I think it’s about time that you receive the love letter you so rightfully deserve.
We haven’t always been this close. Our time together was reserved for the summer months visiting family and brief rendezvous when school breaks allowed it. They say long distance never works out, but being separated by 232 miles never made my heart waver. I’ve always felt that my roots stretched all the way up the interstate and dug deep into your Tallahassee soil. The four hour journey from Palm Harbor to you has become a part of my identity. Road signs and street names have become so ingrained in my memory I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake them.
I’ve tried to understand your appeal. What is it about you that always leaves me wanting more? What is it about you that makes me so sentimental and sappy, especially now when I have experienced you in a different context? Maybe I appreciate you so much because you let me come and go as I please, and I know I still have a place here. I can go experience life elsewhere, but I know you will always welcome me back with open arms.
There’s no denying that you have soul, you have character — a life of your own. Some people may be jaded by the overwhelming majority of college students and business-clad men. That’s who you are, but just on the surface. If people were to take the time to look deeper and spend quality time getting to know you, there is so much more to fall in love with. Your southern charm and artsy flare set you apart from the rest. Your back roads and canopy tree-lined streets serve as the perfect backdrop for a summer drive. Just you and me alone for a moment, appreciating each other’s company.
I often find myself going out of my way to park at the top of parking garages so I can look out over your skyline. Every day before making the trek to class, I stand there at the edge and let it all soak in.
So I want to thank you, Tallahassee, for always being my home away from home. Thank you for always giving me a place to look forward to visiting and continuously surprising me with your hidden gems. After all this time, I thought I would have had enough. Yet here I am, right in the middle of your warm, familiar embrace. And after all this time, I guess I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet.