If you’ve been itching for season two of the Sex and the City reboot, here’s a better bet. Award-winning poet Tafisha Edwards dishes dating between D.C. and Baltimore. Watch for a monthly dating column by Tafisha all summer.
Absolute heartbreak: the GPS alleged it would take anywhere from 86 to 110 minutes to drive the 42 miles from Charles Village to a D.C. house party in Adams Morgan. And it didn’t matter if I took I-295 or I-95 or Route 50. And the party started at 8 p.m. on a Thursday (with a full workday on Friday). And I was already running late. My party-animal mother taught me to “never turn the lights on” at a party. (No one cared I was late.)
When I moved to Baltimore in March 2020, my DMV-based friends carried on as if I moved to the moon. Ridiculous considering, not only do I own a car, I love to drive. You might even call me a tried and tested long distance driver. In comparison to Vermont, Massachusetts, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Virginia, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and New York (upstate and city), D.C. is not a long-haul distance—except when it is.
You know what you do at a party when you’re single. I mixed and mingled. I gave out my number, my TikTok, and (burner) Twitter. At a certain part in each conversation the light in my potential lover’s eyes died. Someone asked, “Is Baltimore like The Wire?” which is a (disrespectful) talking point. It was a night full of assumptions. I must have moved to buy very cheap property to then rent out as an Airbnb (no) or live cheaply and commute to hang out with DMV friends daily (no) or bide my time to move back to D.C. when “gentrification is over.” (The boldest assumption.)
No, I moved to Baltimore because of friends I made: those who already left D.C., poets who published my work and invited me to their reading series, and of course the fact I was enrolled in the University of Baltimore’s Creative Writing & Publishing Arts MFA program. Until March 2020, I split the difference between D.C. and Baltimore for work and school. I gave up my D.C. apartment in 2016 never to return. I felt the city had nothing for me. Baltimore does. Not that anyone in Adams Morgan cared.
At that party, I did find myself in a dim corner with a woman who appreciated the city. Her hand parked itself on my waist. I chugged a lot of water. We made our plans for the upcoming weekend up the highway—a movie at The Charles and a frozé at The Royal Blue. When the clock struck 2:30 a.m., instead of sliding into a morning rendezvous, I called her an Uber and she walked me to my car before I turned into a pumpkin. We kissed dizzily. And as I wound my way out of the city for the 45-minute drive back (I was speeding) I wondered if it were sustainable.
Maybe seven years ago, I drove to Brooklyn for a friend’s birthday situation. We wound up at one of those ridiculously exposed-brick, artist-frequented bars. I wound up in a dim corner with another hand on my waist. The person attached to that hand asked if I lived in Brooklyn. They were unwilling to travel to another borough, so you can imagine their face when I told them I lived in D.C. They (gently) explained the kind of relationship that merges lives, purchases property together, and blends families is really an equation: intimacy = proximity + time. Unstructured time. That’s how we learn one another. And sometimes getting to know and love someone is dragging through the streets all night from bar to bar. Or lazing away an entire Saturday. Sometimes it’s hanging on the couch on a Tuesday after work and falling asleep accidentally. Or a last-minute “wyd” text. So naturally we kissed goodbye and never spoke again.
And that is what I thought about as the Natty Boh full moon hung red in the sky as I made it into Baltimore City around 3:30 a.m. The kiss, the drive, the equation. Is it possible to fall and stay in love across those 42 miles?
Tafisha A. Edwards a poet, cultural critic, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. Her writings have been published in The Volta, VICE, Tidal, Cosmopolitan, Sundress Publications’ Lyric Essentials and other publications. She is the author of two chapbooks, In the Belly of the Mirror and The Bloodlet. She is the recipient of a 2022 Independent Artist Regional Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a 2021 Rubys Artist Grant from the Robert Deutsch Foundation. Her poetry has appeared in The Georgia Review, Apogee Journal, Poetry Northwest, Washington Square Review, Winter Tangerine and other print and online publications.