A pair of black boots are resting by the door. Decaf earl grey tea sits steeping next to the window, beyond which the sounds of car horns, lively voices and clanking dishes from nearby restaurants shoot through the air.
I sit, trying to remember just how the day transpired and how it ended seeing Donald Trump.
Just that morning I sat on the sixth flour of the Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Programs building munching on sweet cheese danish and sipping warm coffee–fuel for the day’s physical and mental rigger. The rigger began suddenly as a spritely and energetic man, who introduced himself as Tim Wendel, rolled up the sleeves of his button-down shirt and sent the class reeling back to a familiar but dormant sensation of classroom student. Like candy pop rocks Wendel rattled off a precise set of questions just quick enough to keep everyone on their toes: “What is narrative?” “Summary or scene?” “Tell me what the A, B, C, and/or D parts of this picture are.” The coffee was forgotten as I listened and filled page after page in the small notebook in front of me.
By lunch time the whole world was stories. To me the man on the subway listening to music with AirJordan sneakers was sleeping because he was up to late watching March madness with his calico cat, the crumpled newspaper on the ground accidentally fell from a purse as sunglasses were retrieved (only the front page had been read), and the construction workers who built the subway always ate chocolate donuts. Fictional stories imagined on the way to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art blurred with historical fiction and non-fiction as new characters such as Hekena Rubinstein, Toni Morrison, and Roger Shimomura (pictures below) were introduced.
Instructors challenged me and my classmates and to create a story between two portraits. Since two minds are better than one, I teamed up with a fellow classmate armed with a wild imagination who delighted in the process. Together we created a story of immigration and the American Dream as Henry Cabot Lodge had a fateful meeting with Roger Shimomura. This, and other silly, poignant, and imaginative stories reverberated through the large chamber and across the expanse of decorative brown and teal tiled floor. When the stories were told and the walls were quiet once again, the day came to a close. Except it didn’t.
Walking home by way of the Whitehouse, myself and a friend were startled to find the crosswalk blocked off and one of the main thoroughfares near the National Mall empty of cars. About fifteen people were milling around the fence on the west side of the Whitehouse. Runners decked out in spandex, several families with young kids bee-popping around with what looks like new DC sweatshirts, and then some people, like me, who were just curious to see what is going one. Then the motorcycles appeared. They had three wheels and lights. Everyone was watching, cameras ready, pitched voices speculating. Everyone watched as the presidential caravan rolled out of the Whitehouse and right by the sidewalk. Where was Trump headed? That is a story for another time.