Ali and I met in writing class. It's a writing class that's focused on writing for community organizations, on using writing to help people have a big impact. Our professor is incredible. We talk about big ideas that are really personal. Anyways, Ali and I hit it off one day before class when we realized we both liked the Head and the Heart. It just sort of spun out of control from there. Before we knew it, we were attending an ERA rally on the South Lawn of the Capitol, hiding from the rain in museums, and biking to a new area of the city together.
Our friendship is based on this beautiful idea that people from separate places, ideologies, and even politics should still value each other. Ali and I think very differently on a lot of subjects, but we both believe in the monumental importance of discussing and sharing those differences. It's always an authentic and wonderful conversation with Ali.
Ali and I love spontaneity, but homework is usually getting in our way. When last Wednesday she texted me to ask if I wanted to go to the zoo with her, I excitedly accepted. "Club G," what we lovingly call the library, would have to wait. I'm so grateful I did. We watched the cheetah pace its cage for a while and observed some gazelles jump. The pandas entertained us for a while. Mostly, we enjoyed one of the last, great days of a DC autumn together. The leaves in Adams Morgan were at their peak; the weather was just brisk enough. The zoo was relatively uncrowded, so we wandered carelessly for a while. It was an incredible separation from the busyness of the end of the semester, and one of those days that will stick with you for a long time.
I didn't write my paper or finish my reading that day, but I did find some space, quiet, and joy in the midst of an overwhelming roller coaster of a semester.