The door she used to get in is locked, and she feels like laughing because it fits in so perfectly with this entire experience – streets crowded with kids at least a decade younger than her, the sidewalks and storefronts dirty and grimy. It makes her think of Nirvana and how of course they would be called grunge. That’s exactly what this whole place is.
She had to park on a busy street, yellow headlights a steady glare in her rearview mirror. She drove around twice hoping for an easy spot on a deserted street. She got half her wish, a gaping hole in the curb that was at least easy to pull into, even though her palms still went clammy as she slowly turned her wheel. It’s ironic that now her entire life revolves around her car and parallel parking. People ask where she’s from, and she watches the confusion blossom on their faces when she says DC. They don’t understand the gift of convenient public transportation; out here your car is part of your freedom to escape into open, desolate spaces. The horse, but with wheels and gas and comfort.
She follows another girl out the side door and breathes in the brisk, dusty air. It’s not until she’s sitting in her car – now tightly sandwiched between two other cars – that she realizes she’s unmoored. Like a boat lulled away from the coast by the gentle ebb of the current. It’s a rolodex in her mind – which city is this? She blinks, and it’s a first breath. She remembers, typing her address into her GPS; she still isn’t sure how to get home.