by Lana Nauphal
One. On your way home from class, watch the moon rise in the daytime from the steps of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Pause. Take a moment to breathe it in. It’s all gonna be ok. I promise.
Two. Stretch your hand out and beckon your cat over so you can pet her, as you sit on your back porch with your housemate. He’s talking about his thesis, and you’re thinking about your cat: how she’s terrified of the outside and rarely ever makes it out, and how she's always on edge when she does. But still she tries.
Three. Take your glorious best friend out to your favorite jazz bar in Adams Morgan, Columbia Station, and turn your mind off. You’ve both been going through a lot, and the sultry jazz, the flirty couples around you, the chocolate cake you ordered, just being with each other—it warms your souls.
Four. Wake up to the smell of sun, and decide to go for a walk in Georgetown. Push back against that generically blasé attitude that is too easy to fall into and really, truly, fully admire the wondrous cherry blossoms and how they’ve bloomed out of the depths of this never-ending winter. You revel in your little escape, and you childishly peek into the front windows of the passing houses and imagine all of the new living rooms, and all of the new people, your life will take you to someday.
Five. When the weather turns, meet your friend in the rain for a comforting bowl of pho at Simply Banh Mi—they know your order there by heart, and the owners feel like family. This friend sitting in front of you, you’ve only known him for less than a year but he feels like family too. He’s graduating soon. They’re all graduating soon. So you eat your pho, and you listen to him go off about some meme with a twinkle in his eye, and you smile a recognizant smile.
Six. Go to T-Sweets despite the weather. Capture your friends devouring their melting ice creams like two messy, excited children and laugh and laugh. These moments are numbered now, and falling away, slowly, one by one. The street at dusk, with the rain, it looks like a movie set, and you’re mindful once again to take it all in.
Seven. Watch "Lost in Translation" for the first time at Suns Cinema and cry, remembering the times you’ve felt stuck like Charlotte and thinking about him, the one who unstuck you. But you’re with your girl again, and she somehow always manages to make everything better. It’s past midnight when you exit the cinema and the moon is big. You run down the empty streets like madwomen, getting it all out; you almost trip up the stairs to bang on the front door of an imposing Freemason temple; you’re laughing, howling at the moon.
Eight. You’ve made it home now, on the back porch again. Put your earbuds in, listen to some good music, the kind that stirs the soul, and lay down on the rain-stained couch. Look up. Goddamn, that moon. She knows something you don’t. It’s all gonna be ok. She promises.