We can’t say that we didn’t see it coming. I majored in Planning, Public Policy, and Management. I wanted to be a part of the work that changes social structures. I was far too in love and intensely involved with a federal homelessness policy for a little over a year while in school. There was never really a doubt in my mind that I would end up doing time in Washington, D.C. Perhaps, that is what made me shy at first. Was it too predetermined to be deemed an adventure?
Some cities, places I’ve visited, I fall in love with immediately. New York City was my best girlfriend who loved martinis, shoes, and glitter just as much as I did. Greece was a passionate love affair that held my hand as I tumbled into my true sense of self. San Francisco is the love of my life, the one to whom I’ll address my love letters, promising to come home one day. I had lunch with Chicago on my way east, and I knew we could be buddies who watch football together on Sundays.
When I arrived in D.C., I wanted that feeling to overwhelm me; I wanted the city to sweep me off my feet. But it didn’t happen that way. When I arrived in D.C., we sat across from each other at the dinner table and just stared at one another. We made a little small talk, the general questions you ask each other to learn the basics, but neither of us felt compelled to delve deeper. We were going to coexist because we were living together now, but we didn’t love each other. D.C. became my arranged marriage. We would support each other as needed, and hope that over time we could learn to love each other, to gain that deep respect love one gets for a person who sticks long enough by one’s side.
And we’ve done pretty well. It was a rocky start and a sometimes chilly winter, but scattered throughout, we’d make each other laugh from time to time. Now, we’re well past our six-month mark and are closing in back upon the time when it all began. The weather is starting to warm up and life is beginning to show that it still exists within the barren trees. We’re reaching the starting line again, but we’re realizing that we’re different now from the people we were at the initiation of our relationship. We’re spending more time looking into each other’s eyes. Seeing each other.
Although I’ve noticed some changes, I’ve been hesitant to get closer to D.C. The walls I have up are based on my own inner confrontations with an intense urge to travel, the reality of a full-time job, and a list of interests and dreams that is often overwhelmingly long. I’m afraid to fall in love with D.C. because I’m not sure I can make that kind of a commitment right now.
But today, something happened. It was a blue-sky day in our nation’s capital and I was minding my own business, exploring the area with two friends from out of town. The mid-seventies weather relaxed my body and the light breeze playfully billowed out the bottom of my floral dress. We toured the Capitol building, visited where President Lincoln spent his last breaths, and squinted our eyes to try to make out words on the Declaration of Independence. When we stopped for brunch in one of the neighborhoods in the South Capitol area, it made me blush. In today’s spring light, D.C.’s eclectic row houses, park-like city roundabouts, and iconic historical monuments made something inside me giggle. I had to cover my mouth with my hand to hide my unexpected, secret smile. It dawned on me – I have a crush on D.C. And I can’t say I know what will happen next with us, as life’s events are never certain, but I can say that as D.C.’s delicate cherry blossoms begin to bloom throughout the color pink’s entire chromatic scale, so too slowly opens my own heart.