I was just looking out at the cement plant across the field from our beautiful view, and noticing how lovely it glows in the darkness. It is white with a light on top and the area around it is illuminated. And it is set so prettily in its green field among the trees it made me think of my month in Charleston -- that cluster of mountains and steel buildings, bridges and lights, all set on the river, co-existing like radically different siblings that somehow all fit in the family. I remember driving the interstate every morning as the early morning fog was still rising from the valleys, and the sun was peeking over the hills. It was so beautiful. I had my coffee and would listen to U2s "Arms Around the World."
I remember visiting the riverside a few times, a beauty I didn't fully appreciate until I moved to Huntington where they had walled off the river. I remember, of course, excursions to Taylor books downtown, one of the many crowded shops set on cobblestone, where Nathan and I would sit over tea or wine amid the books and clustered mismatched couches and chairs.
I remember working at the capitol building with Frances and the other girls in the Vital Statistics office. Brenda is the only other name I remember. But there was the serious, spiritual black lady, and the smoker, who always liked to me to go out with her while she smoked. Frances and I hit it off with everyone so well that when our one month as temps was up, they all threw us a going-away party. Good grief. We photo-copied our faces on the Xerox machine and exchanged addresses. And I, regretfully, lost hers and have never been able to find her since.
It's funny how the best memories, like this one, are often of a time when I wasn't really being productive, I wasn't working on a long-term goal. I was working a mindless, low-paying job and simply trying to stretch the time as thin as possible before I returned to Kentucky. I never suspected that brief month would be one I would look back on so fondly. I just wish I had savored Charleston a little more, because it would be years after I left that I would look back and realize how beautiful it all was.