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POV: Nomad.

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.  


It rained the night before I moved out of my apartment. Friends came over to help, congregating in my empty living room.

We’d spent Thanksgiving here months earlier, fourteen of us seated on folding chairs and bar stools and ottomans and sofa cushions. My roommates and I had hosted, because ours was the only space that could fit such a large group. Now, five of us lay on the floor, gazing at white walls, sweating in the heat of a summer storm. 

I opened a window. Two weeks before, I’d ducked out that same window, and climbed up the fire escape. It was morning, and I’d eaten a mango on the roof with my hands, listening to trains crossing the bridge blocks away. It was a warm day. I was without shoes, and the tar on the roof molded to the shape of my toes. 

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The morning after the rain, I became a nomad. I moved out with a duffel bag and a backpack and my laptop, and shuffled between temporary homes (my new apartment, still being renovated, wouldn't be ready until July).

I spent three nights at my brother’s, where I reveled in the pleasures of an in-home washing machine, and slept in a room that glowed pink at sunset. I spent another two with my friend Jamie, who served me corn cakes with honey and maple syrup and let me use her Turkish towels; yet another two on Long Island, lazing in the grass. “I don’t have a home!” I’d exclaim to acquaintances at coffee shops, to friends of friends, to those who looked at my bags and wondered what sort of journey I was on. “I’m wandering,” I told them. 

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On the eighth night, it rained again, hard. I returned home to a friend’s house to sleep, and threw away my shoes, which had begun to bleed brown streetwater with every footstep. I’d been on my feet since early that morning; I was exhausted. I missed home, even though there wasn’t a home to miss. Wandering was lovely. It was lonely, too.

In the morning, I found a pair of shoes in the closet and walked to a coffee shop. "I'm a terrible nomad," I told the barista. I missed having a bed that was mine, and shelves that were mine, and keys, and un-self-conscious sleep. 

Mid-lament, my phone lit up. There was a concert in Philadelphia in a few hours, said a friend - a man with long hair and a funny name in an old spaghetti factory that had once been a train station. It hadn't sold out. Time for an adventure? came the text.   


I gave it a few minutes' thought. I got on the train.

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You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, hereThank you so much for your support! 
 

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