I stepped off the bus this morning in DC, nostalgic for a place I used to live. It had been an overly air-conditioned four hour bus ride along I-95, this road full of memories for me, and I was too eager to embrace the heat I could feel as soon I stepped off the bus. I thought I missed it, this very particular heat, Southern and heavy, that DC possesses. Or at least I told myself this when I stepped off the bus, taking such pleasure and comfort in those first moments off the bus in the embrace by this heat. Not twenty minutes later, after circling unnecessarily around the Capitol due to the security theater apparatus in full effect around federal buildings, getting faint from the heat, my shirt already wet with sweat, and seeing an old Midwestern-looking couple, one with a cane and one with a walker, get body scanned with metal detectors just to walk on the grounds of the Capitol, not even inside of it, I was over it. The nostalgic longing for the place seen as just that, nostalgia, the reality of the place again hitting me. The actual city outside of the Mall did little to rekindle love for this city. Near the Chinatown Metro station, I saw some black male teens loudly hassle an interracial couple, black female and white male, shouting that she needed a black man to give her what she needed. My shirt got more and more soaked as I tried to kill time wandering around town until 5 in the afternoon, the time of my appointment with the man who likes to get strangled.
I rode the Metro to Dupont Circle, hoping for this thing to still revive itself. It didn't on the train either. It didn't in Dupont Circle. I ate some food at Chipotle to kill some more time and then walked over to this guy's house in Adams Morgan, taking my time to try to get there not too early.
I strangled him and smothered him. I let myself go more this time, put more of my rage into it. I felt the force of my tightened biceps as I pushed harder and harder against his throat, my hands wholly encircling it. I watched him turn darker and darker, my dick getting harder and harder. I would ease up a little, let him take in some air, and then go in again and watch his eyes shrivel up under folds of tensed skin. We did this for a while. I had vague worries about his throat, but only vague ones. Eventually, I covered his mouth with one hand, him unable to breathe, and jerked him off with my other hand until he came.
I took a cab back to the Megabus station. The taxi driver pulled over and took the time to put out his cigarette before starting our journey. I couldn't figure out if the driver was just a terrible driver or if he was somehow trying to trick the meter and push up the fare, but he kept pumping the gas pedal, making for a very jerky ride. He wouldn't just leave his foot on it ever, but instead continually pumped the pedal. I remember driving like that when I first got behind the wheel, nervous that I would over-accelerate, my dad giving me very good advice which I can't remember, but it was advice that you can apply to anything - sex, life, whathaveyou. Whatever it was he told me, it basically showed me that you have to relax and trust yourself and trust that you know what the limits are, to just do it, but do it with a steady rhythm. This man had not been taught to drive by my dad clearly. It might also have been the jerky music he was listening to. He also had no clue where he was going. I continually looked at the map on my phone to redirect him since it was very apparent he was heading off in the wrong direction. There was something very charming about this man and the fact that he was somehow a taxi driver.
I was in love with the music that he was blasting. I couldn't identify anything about it. It was a music I had never heard in a language I could not peg at all. The structure of the beats was insane and jarring. I tried to use Shazam on my phone to figure out who it was but it couldn't identify the song. It was a CD he was playing. I asked him who it was he we was listening to. He asked me if I liked it. I said I did. He said it was the music of his country. He was very difficult to understand. This all took some very real struggles with hearing to even catch this much. I asked him what country he was from. He said a sound I could not make out, a country I had never heard of somehow. I felt bad about asking him to repeat himself, but I really wanted to know more about this music. He again said the country and again I could not for the life of me understand what he was saying. He did add though that it was right above Ethiopia. I have since learned since coming home and consulting a map that this country is probably Eritrea. It could also potentially be Djibouti, though I think the noise he made was closer to Eritrea. Listening to songs I have found on YouTube, I have found nothing like this magical music I heard on this taxi ride to the bus station.
On the way home, I took a picture of this ballfield and concrete factory that really move me for some reason outside Baltimore. I took pictures of other roadside things that struck my eye, not however these three towers of some sort (radio?) that I find absolutely beautiful and that are right outside of Weehawken in the middle of a cornfield next to a marsh. I read a very large portion of A Visit From the Goon Squad. I read from a Paris travel guide, noting places I want to visit while there. I thought about this man I had sex with today. I thought about the guy I had sex with yesterday from Grindr, how fun it was, how sexy he is. I thought about Jacob. I thought about my job, about my future, about my past, about Philip Roth and New Jersey and Bruce Springsteen and America. I saw two sets of fireworks from the comfort of the upper deck of this bus driving back to New York in the dark. One was over water at a town's edge. The other was on a farm far back from the road, but you could see the red explosions shooting up into the air over a dark field and their sparks flying out in all directions, red trails sinking downward.