December 18, 2018
New Haven, Connecticut
The first time I woke up, I thought about the guy I’d slept with last night, and whether either of us were actually interested in getting to know each other, and what if he actually did want me to sleep over sometimes, what if, “Are you gonna leave at 3 a.m. again?” was, in fact, an invitation, and if it was then how did I feel about it? Then I slept for another hour.
When I woke up for good I wanted to make eggs to go with my last piece of bread and my last slice of cheese, but we were out of eggs. I used my second-to-last Keurig cup to make coffee. This was my last day in New Haven before winter break, so it was good that I was basically out of food, but my breakfast of dry toast and black coffee made me feel just a little bit Victorian.
I started to pack around 11 a.m. I usually like packing, since you’re deciding what kind of person you want to be on your trip, and therefore it’s basically playing dress-up. But when the trip is a month at your parents’ house you have to face the facts. I packed a gold glitter eyeshadow — for New Year’s, hypothetically! — and then took it out because I would not be going anywhere that required or even allowed for glitter eyeshadow. I repeated this process several times.
My roommate Molly poked her head in around noon. She told me her ichthyology exam was at 2:00 and I told her my bus was at 3:10 so after the exam she wouldn’t see me. We both wondered where our other roommate, Harrison, was, since his friends from Pittsburgh were here and we weren’t quite sure how they’d arrived. They were in his bedroom playing trap music. They seemed very nice.
I took out the kitchen trash and the bathroom trash and ordered a burrito on an app. When I picked it up it was the size and weight of a chihuahua puppy. I gave my side chips to Molly and Harrison, who had reappeared from the mysterious void of his girlfriend’s house. At 1:50 I hugged them goodbye and wished them both luck on ichthyology.
A little while later I called a Lyft to the train station. It was 2:30 and already approaching golden hour, so the sun hung low and blinding in the sky. The route took us past the apartment complex where the guy I’d slept with lived. That was the first time I’d ever seen it in daylight.
At the station I discovered my bus was delayed by over an hour. I thought about heading down to the Sbarro by the train platforms to see if they still had the “buy four beers, get the fifth for a penny” deal but then decided against it. I read the book I’d bought as a gift for someone— I had yet to decide who—which was Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris. I listened to the music the station was playing, which was Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. I wondered if I should take Amtrak next time.
I checked Instagram and saw that an old hookup had responded to my late-night DM with “thanks, hope you’re well!” which is a hell of a conversation stopper. I thought about how utterly different “Hope you’re well!” is from “How are you?”and didn’t respond.
At 4:11 the bus arrived. Another passenger, a burly bald guy with a beard who got off in New London, very kindly warned me that the outlets on the right side weren’t working. I thanked him and said I’d keep that in mind.
As the bus left the city I looked out over the Long Island Sound. The water was gray and ruched and the sky tangerine. I watched the sunset through the contours of the Gateway Terminal scrapyard. We would make the rest of the trip in darkness.
I listened to Mitski and theMagnetic Fields and Gillian Welch’s “Back in Time.” I texted my mom to ask if she’d ever heard of Mitski, and she said she had not. As we drove to New London and the Mohegan Sun Casino and the Foxwoods Resort Casino and then Providence, Rhode Island, I shifted from sad indie/folk to Migos and Kodak Black. I like hip hop but I don’t normally listen to it when I’m alone. I think I was remembering parties. Eventually my ears started to hurt and I had to stop listening to music. So now I had both darkness and silence.
When we reached Boston I saw the skyline all lit up and it almost made me cry. That was unexpected. But I really love apartment buildings. I love when you can see the windows as little bright spots in the dark, I love how each one of those windows is a room that holds a life, I love seeing what close quarters we are held in.
My dad picked me up at South Station and drove us home. Home is a house in Arlington he and my mom moved into in October, and I’ve only been there once. Technically it feels more like my parents’ house. But I’ve always referred to anywhere I’ve slept for two consecutive nights as “home.” I wonder if that means I’m a free spirit or just linguistically lazy. Dad asked me about my classes and my plans for the summer. He said he’d lost his gloves, but then I found them in the backseat.