Rémi is the last person I expect to be the last person I see before I leave.
(But who am I kidding, of course I expected it.)
We state our goodbyes, then I step onto a paper-bag street lathered in charcoal forks. It's crisp, too sharp, D.C. always is, it prods at me, along, away from the car, Rémi's canvas-colored sedan pulling raucously away, and I left in front of Union Station.
Philadelphia. Boston. Chicago. Seattle. St. Louis. San Francisco.
Signs are plastered on the walls of the station, all possible termini to my origin point, for me to choose, for me to be whisked away towards.
But there's only one destination for me, and my ticket leads me to my gate (B15).
Above, the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty beckon. Below, the silver ghoul awaits.
Past me glide so many strangers whose stories I will never uncover, the thunderous roar of hundreds of suitcases rolling elsewhere; I ache, I can't help it; and then the ground opens up in front of me, the agora below, echoes of feverish debate and droll complaints simmer upwards.
I part, and descend.
It has been a week (one week, seven days exactly) since I last left the apartment building off of U Street. It will be one week (again, seven days) before I first step into Rémi's son's Brooklyn headquarters.