I recently went home to DC to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. It had only been a year since my last visit but overall my trips back to DC have grown infrequent in the last few years. For some reason, this visit felt different. Everything FELT different. And everywhere that I turned I not only saw what was in front of me coupled with visions from memory, but visions of what could have been. Visions from my past dreams of what I thought my future would look like overlaid on the reality of that now-future.
My dad and I rode bikes down to the Potomac River and stopped off at a stark wintery sight at Fletcher’s Boathouse. The boarded up rental house. The beached row boats. All useless and waiting to be used. Hibernating but empty. And this metal ball chained to a tree. Everything felt like a metaphor.
Maybe this is what a mid-life crisis looks like for a writer/filmmaker? I’m constantly envisioning lives, characters, scenarios. Everywhere I look is a possible story or scene. As I walked past the Smithsonian castle on the way to the Hirshhorn, I looked down the walkway with all the flowers and vaguely remembered a time I had walked through and sat there and that merged with a dream/thought I had had years ago when I envisioned what my life would be like to live and work in DC. In my younger years, I had done research work down at the Library of Congress and I used to think about what life would be like to live on Capitol Hill and go to the Eastern Market. And suddenly, I was seeing the future that never was, like my own Sliding Doors movie.
I’ve had the benefit of living and visiting in many different places all over the country and abroad and each has a multitude of dream-mes walking around somewhere in the ether, but the emotional impact felt different in the place where I grew up. The sense of loss greater, and I’ve been thinking about what that actually means to me.