DC was never going to be permanent.
I could say the same thing about every place I've lived for the past decade or so. When my family moved to Florida, I knew I wouldn't stay. I grew up with brilliantly-colored autumns and winters that never ended, I wasn't built for that constant heat. And Tokyo had an end date built in. I didn't have time to get comfortable, even though part of me did anyway.
And when I came back to Boston for college, I knew two things: that this was my home without a doubt, but that once those four years were over, I wouldn't necessarily get to stay.
My relationships with places have always been as fraught and complicated as my relationships with people, and for this city, it started as a business transaction. It didn't matter that we were incompatible from the start. It had a job for me, my first real job, so there I was. I didn't think it'd be a problem, leaving this place. I had far fewer attachments here than in any city I've ever lived in. I'd be out the door before it could sting.
But attachments show up whether I like it or not - they always do. The things I hated about this place softened into one big affectionate eye roll. Then I found things to like, then I found things to love: the food, the bus routes, the monuments all lit up at night. I got into the habit of turning off all the lights and pulling back the blinds every night before bed to look out at the National Mall, and I grudgingly had to admit that this place could be beautiful when it wanted to be.
I love it here. I made more amazing friends than I could have hoped for. But I'm still a tourist in the world of politics, and the kind of life I'm looking for as a writer isn't here in DC. So at the end of next month, I am coming home to Boston. And while you can never really say what's going to happen next, it'll be the first time in a long time that I won't be carrying escape routes in the back of my head.
It's exciting, and terrifying, and I'll miss this place more than I can stand. Maybe I'd hoped, at the beginning, to avoid these mixed feelings. But I'm a writer. I should have known better than that. :)
Wish me luck!!