Visiting my childhood friends across the country was simply marvelous. Well, firstly to stab into the everyday routine and do something else is always liberating, and to add the company of forever friends....it meant everything to me. When we come together after living lives so differently from one another and share our stories to receive perspective and acknowledgment adds tremendous value to my growth as both an Artist as well as just being human itself.
When Monday hit, our togetherness came to a brief pause when they had to dive into the worlds of their 9 to 5s and I was left to find meaning out of the day by myself. I did some research into how I can fill my day with the possibility of visiting an Art Gallery, but nothing was open that fine Monday. I resorted to just leaving the contemporary DC apartment my friend shared with her man to get out of their way and also seizing the opportunity to experiencing the city in my own way.
Having just had a lasik surgery, I double checked to see if I still had my sunglasses in my little bag, threw on my warm jacket, and made my way into the streets of downtown D.C. As I started walking I realized how cold it actually was, I quickly went back to retrieve my beanie. As I walked into the outdoors once again, the cold suddenly wasn't so crummy anymore and I regretted getting my beanie since it was just one more thing to carry around. Furthermore, my vision started becoming blurry even after I used my refresh tears as recommended by the doc. Not a great start to the day but I was determined to explore the city and that's what I did.
I googled the nearest coffee shop, walked in quickly hauling out my mask, and ordered the sweetest drink on their menu. I wasn't overjoyed by the ambience, but I really needed that mocha iced coffee. It was ready before I knew it, and just as I predicted in my head, it was not the best. I noticed the barista not putting his heart into the creation process, and in my head just chose to forgive him. Who knows what he's going through and after all, it's just a drink. This is no biggie -we are currently facing a whole ghastly pandemic after all.
I found a spot in the cafe, downed my drink and dashed out, reassuring myself that there was certainly better out there. I mean this was D.C. I had nothing to worry about. So I decided not to google the next cafe (this time for some light eats- no not another coffee don't worry), but instead hit upon it organically because maybe this may turn my luck around. I kept on walking, through silent streets filled with lonely homes, through busy streets filled with grocery stores, restaurants and cafes, noticing very, very interesting people along the way. I asked a security guard where the nearest Metro station was, he pointed me in the wrong way, but thankfully a kind father with a stroller, noticing this, directed me correctly. I was just curious to see if I can perhaps make my way to Georgetown, an area I adored, and maybe just spend time appreciating the architecture and the food of the place. As I made my way into the station, someone there guided me with which train to take and where to switch, I changed my mind as I was too impatient to go all the way and also didn't particularly enjoy the stares on a deserted Monday morning in the underground. Living in Baltimore before, a memory of a guy swearing across the street at me returned to my brain, and I chose to leave and head on back into civilization. Better safe than sorry.
Like I promised myself earlier, I chose not to google the next cafe but instead walk into whatever seemed attractive to me...and this I did. I hit upon a spot called "Busboys and Poets" and man, I had to pinch myself into reality. It was almost as if I had walked into a little Harry Potter scene but with regular humans. But even these regular humans had such a cultural and artsy vibe about them that I instantly adored. It's a form of self-expression I would love to excel in, when you're authentically yourself and it shows just with your attire and vibe.
It was split into a little bookstore to the left and opened to a sort of hang out lounge with food and beverages to the right. I asked someone working there if I could make my way over to a chair and get seated and settled, and he looked at me confused. I think this was because he was used to regulars just coming in without asking questions about obvious things like this as it was part of their everyday comfort. He showed me to a wildly cozy looking chair and I immediately sank into it, finally putting an end to an insane amount of being on my feet most of the morning,
Leaving my jacket behind in the open to ensure I locked my spot in the restaurant, and what seemed like a community who knew one another by sight at least, I worked my way to the bookstore part of the cafe and admired the thick dusty books on the shelves placed as if they were just read and put back. That in a way felt communal in my head, as if the previous reader was in some weird way handing it to the next reader, thereby creating a sort of bond. I reached for one of these books just to be a part of this transaction and after simply reading the title and author's name, placed it back in an angle I deliberately chose. It felt like whispering a request for acceptance into this silent association that I completely wanted to embrace in my time there.
Once I headed back to my chair, choosing to go with finishing up my own book that I had in my bag, I skimmed over the menu before I spotted the man next to me holding a glass of what looked like iced matcha latte. I settled on ordering that as I saw the waiter headed my way. What I found very peculiar was another man closely followed the waiter as if monitoring his every move, something I would despise for myself. As they came closer, I realized that this was some unusual co-waitering that I had never quite come across before.
The waiter in front leaned close into my face and asked me what I preferred to munch on as I read my book, addressing me as "young lady" the whole time. I found it so funny that he was saying that since just that morning I was bothered by how in less than a few months I will indeed be 28 years. Him calling me that made the whole thing hilarious and I suddenly felt relaxed about growing old.
After ordering and eating my food, I slipped out, doing this as swiftly as I could, fearing that this may be perceived as exiting the "community" since I know that it would be a long time before I come back as I had a flight to catch to the west coast the very next day. I made myself feel better when I remembered my little mark with the book placement. It still felt like a silent break-up with no closure whatsoever. Just acceptance.