IMPORTANT NEW NOTES FROM JUSTIN:
US Tour Day 189: Washington, DC.
The United States is a sort of cultural and geographical mosaic. Fifty colored stones are cemented together in a strangely shaped pattern to make something that—when you squint your eyes just right—looks a lot like home to me.
Ok, fifty one actually. Last night Nichole informed me that the United States has fifty states, plus the District of Columbia. "You mean it's not a state? It's not one of the fifty?" She shook her head. "Come on, seriously. How could I have lived in this country my whole life and not known this?" She shrugged, indicating she had no explanation for my widespread ignorance.
Today I began my stay in the 51st colored stone, the central office of the most egocentric country on Earth—Washington, DC. Cramped into the space between Virginia and Maryland and the Atlantic Ocean, Washington is home to all sorts of important people doing important things. They make money here. I don't mean that people earn money here (although they do that as well). I mean that they manufacture actual money—the physical pieces of paper. They also make laws here—starting with law eggs and incubating them until they can live on their own. And, don't forget important decisions about things that affect every living person on the planet—ranging from blowing things up to protecting trees that produce something called oxygen—you may have heard of it, perhaps?
I hadn't planned on visiting Washington, DC. But, I got an email a few days ago that sort of changed my plans.
I hadn't heard from Eleanor in many months—or had it been a year? I met her in the changing rooms at a boutique on Haight Street in San Francisco. We were both trying on handmade cyber–Japanese–wear, enjoying the feel of punk–couture against our skin. She was tall and fit, I could see her tight skin through the spaces between this garment and that. The ensnaring thing about her was really her personality, though. She was charming like the sun is hot. The attractiveness of her character was so loud that it made her unfair beauty and the obvious effects of her hummingbird metabolism seem subtle.
We played dress–up for maybe an hour—enjoying the time like two kids who met on vacation. And then we both had to leave our little clothing party—other evening engagements had our names on them. We exchanged information and a hug and went off in separate directions.
We emailed for a while—infrequently at the most—and then stopped for no reason. After our correspondence trailed off I figured I'd never hear from her again. So, I was surprised when she sent me a letter offering for me to come and stay with her at her new apartment, walking distance from aforementioned Important Stuff.
Her email started with something like "I'm not sure if you remember me..." I laughed out loud, not that she could hear it from across the country. And now here I am—far from home, in a strange place with a strange person I met in a strange way. Of course, I mean strange in the best possible way.
I'm not sure what will happen next, but I feel safe here—as if I've found an oasis of sorts, some refuge from the frantic tune I've danced to lately.
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