There location was decent – just off Decatur Street, NW. Once it was a black neighborhood. But real estate in the nation’s capital had changed. Lots of folks were relocating into the city, away from Maryland and as far as Baltimore. Latinos and white Americans were gradually populating the scenery. One of my neighbor who shared the apartment with me said he could still recall a time where a white kid would be in danger walking around these streets, especially without a black friend by his side. Somehow I believed him.
There were four of us living in the house, all of us males. One who lived down in the basement was from Brazil, and he was almost always on the move traveling in and around the country. There were two Africans in the house: myself, and another young man from Uganda. Though we hardly got along. There was James, who was the oldest amongst us, and the other, Wallace. Wallace was a cool fellow, except when it comes to cleaning up whatever mess he’d leave in the kitchen. Much of the time I was the only always taking out the thrash.
My room was in the back. Behind it was the alley. Lots of cats hung around the alley. One time I almost stepped on one of them in the dark.
Much of my time was spent in my room, at my table, facing my computer. I had nothing else on my mind except then working on editing my novel, ‘The Rabbit’s Man‘. It was a real headache thinking of just one thing and nothing else to do with myself. I couldn’t even go out and see about getting a job because my visa status was against my attempting that. A good thing I’d saved up enough bread before I left home, so for the time being meeting the rent wasn’t a problem. Though that was bound to change the day Hurricane Sandy hit. But for the time, it was summer and hot as a African desert outside.
Evenings when the heat cooled, I’d head out for long walks. Sometimes stroll down to Petworth Library, or go watch a college football playoff at the Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School which was just next door behind the library. I remember one time getting lost, and that usually happens whenever I try to be adventurous at nighttime.
Weekends I’d ride a bus down to Silver Spring and go watch a movie at the Highwood Theater. Do some window-shopping and stop by somewhere to water my lungs with a beer. It felt good walking the streets of a foreign country. But never so good when alone. Especially knowing you’re going to return back to your one-room crib with the silence waiting for you.
Worse when you know you’re probably going to be doing the same thing come morning.