Monday, November 07, 2005

It has been more than a year since I’ve stepped into the building I once considered more of a home than an office. The Metro pulls into Capitol South and I feel a tug on my stomach, a surge of feelings wells up inside me as I ride the escalator to street level. Canon, Longworth, Rayburn- the three House Office Buildings vault up from the ground before me; looming behind them is a place that will always be connected to my heart: the US Capitol building.
Images of Washington will always be skewed for me by my junior year of high school and the time I spent Paging for the House of Representatives. Every year, seventy juniors are invited to work for Congress and live on the Hill; I was one of the lucky few chosen two years ago. Now when I look at Washington it is not a city of wonder or possibility, it’s haunted by the faces I know and associate with the District. My best friends, members of Congress, bosses and teachers, they all seem to be rounding a corner or stepping on the Metro with me just a step or two too far behind to call out.
The Hill does not seem like a place I would be “wandering,” per se; I know it like the back of my hand, but today, I do not know what I am looking to find. Inside the Capitol life has moved on; I am surprised, almost betrayed, as if the lack of my insignificant presence should have affected something. Feet clap hurriedly on the floors, the building smells important—old, musty, with an almost palpable reverence hanging in the air. The marble steps have been worn down by time and expensive shoes, and my feet still sink into the ornate and plush carpets.
It feels so similar but it is not, not for me anyway. It never will be, a piece of me will always exist, jovial and young, walking down the halls bathed in soft yellow light; watching from a corner a votes take place, running to give a message to a Congressman and laughing with my cohorts. However, maybe I wandered down here to find my freedom, not my old self. Now that DC is not the city of my past, I can try to make the city of my future.

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