I took a quick trip to metro Richmond on Sunday, mostly to go to Wawa. There’s a Sheetz about 15 miles from Charlottesville, but it’s not the same. I missed Wawa’s distant second mac and cheese, compared to my mom’s. I missed its turkey bowls. I like Wawa coffee over 7-Eleven. I like how the gas tends to be cheaper.
On the way to Wawa, we stopped at Short Pump and, from there, drove around some of my old haunts and things that have sprung up since I moved away. The circuitous route had an obviously destination: I headed across the Leigh Street Viaduct to Mosby Street. Eventually, I took a right from East Clay Street.
I hadn’t seen the old house in months. It was about 7 p.m. and it looked as if no one was home. Two houses had sprung up in two of the three vacant lots on the block. Now, there is just one vacant lot and two empty houses. The infamous green house is one of them.
The street was filled with cars. The old Chimborazo School, complete with its Urban Farmhouse shone brightly. I remembered deciding that the nearly empty North 33rd Street would become home, despite it being about two years removed from being a stereotypical murderous wasteland. I though of Matt, Shaunelle and Loaf; the parties, the nights on the porch, deck and balcony; the rough-around-the edges neighbors, the ample parking, the ambiance.
I lingered a couple of seconds longer than I should before turning on Marshall, one block north of Broad, which continues for dozens of miles before becoming Long Street in Charlottesville, my new home.