Adams Morgan

The Block and Back, 1995

I sit on the top step of the front porch, my knees tucked up to my chest. A bagpipe wheezes pitifully down the block; one of the rookie firemen is learning and it’s going slowly. I’m thirty-five and have just moved back home with Mom in Washington DC. The reporting job I had for fifteen years is gone. There was an argument about fairness and when it was over, so was my job. Most of the mammoth elms on my old block have hollowed out and died; there are only spindly trees, just taking root.

I have lived on the first floor of a brownstone in New York City, in a balcony apartment in Santa Monica, and behind thick colonial doors in Mexico City—so big a carriage and horses could drive through them. I can see each threshold, the way I entered and made a life behind the doors. This will be a time of doors left open, inviting everything in, but I don’t know that yet. I’m sitting on my porch, listening as the old stories merge with the new.

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