Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I picked up my backpack and wandered down the hall to the elevator, taking it to the alien lobby of the building that wasn’t mine.
Life as a nomad is lonely, but freeing in a way. It’s been close to a month since I moved out of my old apartment, the furious hours of throwing things in Wal-Mart bags so that they could sit in my car. Outside of a brief stint on the other side of the Atlantic, I’ve been sleeping in my friends’ living room.
Last night I spent a long time talking about philosophy, love and the finer points of crab-cake economics. I stayed up past when I had planned on going to bed, but good conversation has tendrils that keep you from wandering away too quickly. This morning I had errands to run, things to do, missions to accomplish.
However, when I reached my intended destination, a little bug told me to keep driving. I asked him, “Why?”, but he wouldn’t tell me. Bugs are like that. I kept driving.
I turned down King street, which is the cultural corridor on which Old Town Alexandria is situated. Today it was alive with couples, kids, food vendors, people walking around smiling at the good weather. The proceeding several days were occupied with a tropical storm hit that had drenched much of the East Coast. Yesterday, when I stepped in a pool of standing water, one of my dress shoes announced that it had a hole in the bottom.
Rounding a corner, I headed north, along the Potomac towards the airport. Past the Torpedo Factory that houses all of the local artists. Past volleyball games filled with yuppies wearing sunglasses. Past the family with the adopted asian child playing on the rocky beach. Right up to a parking spot that looked out onto the water.
I got out of my car and walked onto the grass. I took off my sandals and felt the green blades run through my toes. Families having picnics, a game of frisbee, the elderly riding bikes by the train tracks, all under the most perfect of partly cloudy skies.
It’s been a while since I’ve been completely overwhelmed by a sunny day.
It was like sitting in the shallow water at the beach. The water is warm, and you face the shore with the wind at your back. You feel the water slowly pull out in anticipation of a wave, and suddenly you’re lifted up by this rush that surrounds you. It picks you up and glides you forward, your arms floating and the surf tickling the back of your hair.
It will put you down eventually, but for a brief instant in time you fly in the warm embrace of the surf.
A moment can be like that.