I was in the gym working on my adductors, meaning my inner thigh muscles, and that's why Jim broke the ice with a remark that it's a good exercise for riding a horse.
Jim hailed from Montana and did a lot of horse-riding in his youth. He talked to me about life with horses in the prairie under a vast open sky. That life had been a tough one, so tough that he had left, leaving his brother behind to farm their father's land.
Sometimes while we were rowing his boat on a nearby lake, I could see Jim's prairie in his eyes. I should know, because a nostalgic yearning had also been gnawing at my heart until I made a trip back to the place I had left; it then dawned on me that the world I had been holding dear only existed in my selective memory, and reality was a lot less poetic.
That was what I wanted to tell Jim, and I often wondered why he never returned to Montana for a visit. After all, it was only at the other side of the country, while my native land was halfway around the world and I had managed to come back all the same.
Maybe Jim didn't want to find out what I did. Maybe he cherished his memories so much he wanted to keep them intact, joy and pain alike.