My Sugar is from Miami but loves the skein of years she spent running a farm in the hills of North Carolina. I’m from St. Louis but for a handful of years–about the same piece of time that MS was farming, actually– I lived in the deep woods in a primitive cabin. We each occasionally crave pastoral quiet or the immediacy of city life, but we’re each home right now in this provincial capital town that offers a good community for child-rearing. For better or worse. I thrash against the limitations more than she does, but still I ultimately circle back to the knowledge that life is good here. Small town life is just fine, at least for now.
We escape now and then to scratch up adventure and to let a city crash through whatever lines we’ve drawn about what we think we want. Once in D.C. we dove through the cool night for big city fun, which ended with a few shakes of early morning dancing in a girl bar before heading home to our hotel. We asked our cab driver to take us to the Hotel Rouge by way of a ride around the monuments in the mall.
The few moments of that taxi ride were spectacular, with MS in my arms as our driver circled the lit magnificence of the streets, the park, the monuments, and all of the many brilliant ideas, people, art, and hope that inspired the city and held it there. It was easy to believe, as we wound through the last intersection roundabout and pulled up to our city home, that when we hold hands, it puts us in the center of the world.
This past weekend we went to a 40th birthday party of an old friend in a loud club where the DJ played her favorite songs. We danced, watched women grind and laugh, and toasted so many good fortunes as well as the peace we’re all making with what is happening or not happening in our lives. On the way home, MS drove me around town. There aren’t many lights to speak of here at all, just a few lining downtown and the rest are simply the punctuation of stoplights and strip mall parking lot lights that you find anywhere.
Still, she drove me around town, knowing I was loving the ride with her, the finally-cool evening air, the way lights blur and jag if you squint your eyes–you could be anywhere–my hand tucked under her right hip like I love to do when she drives. She took a bit us out of our way, and eventually I saw why. We circled one of the few roundabouts in town, several times, around we went. There was nothing to see, but it was breathtakingly spectacular.