June 17 — A night in the District

I. Walk of memory and sentiment

It’s dark outside when I get out of the theater. I’m starting to get hungry again, but a strange, stronger impulse is sweeping over me. The National Mall is just a few blocks away from me to the south. The night air is warm, and I have nowhere to be until bedtime. I queue up “Some Nights” by Fun. and walk to the Natural History Museum. People are still milling about, strolling along the grass, sitting on the benches, and I’m walking and listening to the soundtrack of my saddest and happiest times since college. Emotion sweeps over me, the memories of a hundred nights full of long conversations about God and politics, flirting with new female friends, playing ultimate Frisbee, or being alone with my thoughts. The reflecting pool in front of the Capitol is a deep blue. It looks more vibrant and opaque than I’ve ever seen it.

It’s been a good chapter, the past four years in D.C.

II. Union station misfortune

“Excuse me sir.”

I turned to the man calling out to me. I’d taken my earbuds out when I entered Union Station. There was no ignoring him.

“I took the wrong bus, and I’m just 80 cents short on each ticket for me and my boys. Can you help me out?

“Yeah, sure,” I handed him four singles. “The bus station is over that way through the train station.”

“Thank you, sir, thank you,” he said. “I’m also really hungry, can you spare a few more bucks so I can buy my boys something to eat?”

“No, I’m sorry,” I said. “I have to get going.”

“Please sir,” he asked again but it was no good. So he tried harder.

“I can give you some weed.” He cocked an eyebrow at me. He seemed confident this would do the trick, but he was barking up the wrong tree.

“No, I’m sorry that’s not my thing,” I said, “but I can get you a burger or two. I’m heading to McDonald’s right now.”

“Oh, that would be great, thank you sir,” he said. We started walking together. I asked him his name.

“Oliver,” he said. “You married?”

“No.”

“Well get married,” he said.

“I’m hoping to soon,” I said.

“Also, get an education. An education makes you a force to be reckoned with.”

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