Tori Telfer | Longreads | May 2018 | 15 minutes (3,912 words)

The American West brings out a hunger in people. I’ve felt it myself — an urge to disconnect from society, buy a horse, live next to a giant saguaro. My husband and I have talked for hours about moving to the town of Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, where we were invited to live by an elderly gay couple we met beside a Tucson, Arizona pool. They told us that houses were cheap and everyone was friends and they’d be our uncles; we took their business card home and spent nights looking at houses on Zillow, cooing over cacti. The destiny was almost made manifest, then real life intruded. Guess where we’re moving instead? New York City.

The urbane, European-inflected East Coast has looked at the West with a strange blend of envy and hope for most…

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