LETTER FORTY-ONE

Good morning friend,

I’m sorry I don’t write sooner, but in all the post-Christmas, post-New Years frenzy that accompanied my departure from Canada and return to New York—and then the new frenzy of resuming school—well, I just haven’t had the time.

    To catch you up: my trip back to America was... less than ideal. For the first time I was detained at Customs and Immigration and then taken away to a remarkably unremarkable room, with walls the exact colour of the walls in every unremarkable municipal office building; a sort of frothy eggyolk colour mixed with old beige. I was released, eventually. It seemed that there was something wrong with one of the signatures on my visa. I am frightened to leave America again. Once freed, (and I don’t know if it only seemed this way because I was a little on edge or what), but every single person I interacted with seemed to have a problem with me. A security guard started lipping off to me about the problem with kids these days. I had to remind myself that the airport is no place to get into fights, and so I stayed quiet. It wasn’t my best trip, but I am glad to be home.

    There’s been a great deal that’s been happening lately, most important being my renewed commitment to finishing my Great American Novel—due Aug 1 of this year (or I do not graduate). But all that can wait for now, because it’s just after five in the morning and I’m tired and I don’t really feel like writing about the boring details of my life. Instead, what I will say is that this morning I find myself at Port Authority Bus Terminal.

    I am going to Washington.

    Have you ever been to D.C.? I haven’t, so I figured now is as good a time as any. It’s been an exciting weekend in Washington, and I’m going to go add my voice to the commotion.

I’m looking for gate 64 (the 6:40am Washington Express). I’m early. I anticipate that there will be a line. I need to find a cuppa coffee. I need to take a shit. I need to get to my gate. I am hungry.

In line now at the gate! I am not sure I can really describe the scene here. There are plenty of young, fired-up liberals, like myself, with clever handmade rally signs, but far more interesting to me are the other people. Late-middle-age Mothers, who look like mine—strong and serious, hardworking—standing with their daughters. Older women, elderly women, little grannies with protest signs written in neat lettering on the backs of cut-up Christmas gift boxes. These are the women who I am in awe of. These women are heroes.

I just boarded the bus to D.C. (Which was in itself quite the feat, as there were about nine times as many passengers as there were seats—bloodbath) and now we’re off.

 

It is quite the thing, driving through the city in those few beautiful minutes just before sunrise. And too, with sense in you gut; that rising swell of anticipation of the journey ahead—one of the best feeling in the world. As we drove just now through Manhattan, and I saw that faint purple-grey dawn light barely touching the edges of the buildings surrounded in morning fog and still seeming to be black and white in the low-light of a new day, I remembered every trip, every road trip and long car ride, every field trip, and my journey across Canada and back years ago. Those memories came back all in an instant, with a feeling like pride and eagerness; that feeling when you are suddenly back in the memory of all your past adventures, and those memories all crash together with your present excitement—it is a beautiful feeling. It will pass in an instant, and I won’t remember it even an hour from now (not until my next adventure), and in this way it is like that moment when you crest at the peak of a roller coaster—a feeling of fear and joy, when all you can do is sit back and thrill at what’s to come.

    What’s to come later on today? I am honestly not sure. I have no return ticket to New York, so the future is unclear. I can’t think of that now though. Not I can only thrill at the day ahead.

    H