From Everything Changes, the Awl’s newsletter. Subscribe here.
I was in D.C. for work this week — it’s the city where I spent most of my twenties, had many jobs, met many people I love — and it felt like there was a memory bomb on every other corner.
I made a right turn and there was the street where I turned a song in my headphones up to quell my anxiety as I neared a Metro stop where a crush was waiting for me. There was the nondescript office building that’ll always be where I had the first job that felt like the beginning of a career. That’s where I met Theresa, Erin, Mary, James for the very first time.
I asked readers of Everything Changes to tell me about their own memory bombs—the places that bring to mind a specific moment in their lives—and put them into a map.
A few of the stories you’ll find in the map:
Kottbosser Brücke, Berlin, Germany: There is a bridge where I stood with my then boyfriend the moment I broke up with him. He said he’d jump, and for a little while we stood there, wrestling. Him trying to get to the edge, me holding him back. I was stronger than him. — N.
The bridge from Tennessee to Arkansas: I drove home after college, which was extremely tumultuous for me, and the feeling of “I could have gotten in a car and just LEFT this WHOLE TIME?” was very freeing but also helped me recognize my own power and agency in life. Crossing the state line really was that moment of “I don’t live here anymore. I am not in college anymore.” It poured my entire drive through Arkansas and I never stopped, but any time the state comes up I am taken back to that feeling of accomplishment that I survived but also that I don’t need to make life hard on myself, I can make change. — SMS
An Afghani restaurant in Midtown: Where my office friend/crush and I once got lunch. The waiter asked if we were dating, while he poured waters. No, we said. That’s ok, he said, Today you pretend you are dating. — Anon.
More stories on the map. Thanks so much to everyone who sent one in. ❤