It's fortunate that the college is close to the river because the car is flashing close to empty. It trudges over the bridge behind a line of cars, begging for a break from the four-hour drive. I look up from my D.C. map and see the top of the clock tower peaking over the Sicamore trees. I suck in a quick breath; it was an exact likening of the brochures.
After finding the parking spot on the corner of O Street and 37th, I begin the trek uphill to the college gate. I can't help to stop and look at the decades old brownstones that hug the campus; some house antique shops while others boast clean-cut planters and jasmine. A woman in a Milly empire waist dress opens the door to one of the homes and steps down onto the porch. She gives me a quick smile, obviously recognizing that I was touring the campus. She hurries down the brick staircase and down the street; probably heading for the row of shops on M Street and Wisconsin.
The hills are steep, and at the top I look back. I wipe away the speckles of sweat that formed on my upper lip, embarrased that bodily functions are bringing this ethereal moment back to reality. My parents had stopped to talk to an undergrad student for directions to the Admissions Office, but I had decided to find the building on my own.
I step up to the wrought iron gate, glistening from a fresh coat of black paint. Through the arms are brambles of pink, white, and red flowers all blooming in full. The lawn is a rich shade of pine green, pristine besides a few summer students who chose to lay out in the early morning sunshine. I take a quick glance around for Admissions, disappointed by my oblivity.
"Looking for the Admissions Office?" an undergraduate student says, a bike beside him. He has a Carribean accent and tossled hair. "It's Old Gravenor. And it's the white building over there." He points to a collossal stone building to my right.
"Thanks," I say enthusiastically and begin towards the white structure. I take one last look at the wrought-iron gate, praying it would not be the last time I passed through its entrance.