Saturday, September 10, 2022
Resting above 21 floors after our first elevator ride, we’re across from Jack London Square Station. Bedside binoculars give clear views across the Potomac and into Arlington. Some still question TheDistrict’s incentives to retain that city’s name.
Our beds lie adjacent to the station’s arching phosphorescent lights, glowing into our hotel room’s window through the evening. Gus changes his shirt, unties each blind, and strikes a match, lighting the candles at the other end’s nightstand. Kneeling at the shoulder of his bed, he lifts his chin and gathers each hand on his lap. Remi and I tuck ourselves into the other queen bed, sleeping head to toe. Gus sniffles into his covers, grabbing a tissue from the box next to the night lamp.
Remi kicks my feet, untucking herself from beneath our covers. Turning onto my back, she sits bedside next to Gus. “Dad, your eyes,” she whispers.
On his eighth sniffle, she rubs his back, and a teardrop reaches my ear as she sings:
“Daddy, oh daddy, please don’t you cry,
The sun still shines down on our story that thrives,
We’ll need you on this land as many have tried,
I’ll wipe your tears for now, so please stop the cry.
Give thanks with me for a safe journey through night,
You’re strong to follow your heart against a fight,
So hold your tears for now cause’ we’ll be alright…”
Budd’s unsure when Rigil journals this. Maybe two months after Rigil watches his nomadic best friend from college commit a tragic oops above SouthStation’s tracks? This scene drives him to string these insignificant moments leading up to the happenings beside tracks two and three. Or he cares to let you know he’s an asshole. His attitude’s how he chooses to protect his solace—a mystical happy place he abstracts in flight to TheDistrict’s Port Avanti airport. That’s the territory of states along our Atlantic Coastline where nine states conform. West coast sounds next.
As of today, the places he writes about aren’t found on the internet. And America seems to be experimenting with new ways of well-being for thriving citizens. So, he’s writing decades from tomorrow.
Anyway, back to Rigil. This disruptive refugee. Aloof to his trauma.
(Does the feature photo belong to you?)