When I tell the story to friends now, after almost six years of Northern Virginia living, I can laugh at the utter loneliness I felt that first night, knowing the end of the story. But at the time, I simply felt sorry for myself. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be, I thought as I sat in the family room of a family I didn’t know, listening to the darkness of late summer settle. My idealistic visions had left no space for a moment like this. Over the past four years, I’d grown accustomed to living life in community, with friends and acquaintances my constant companions in eating, studying, exercising, partying, praying, even in walking to class. I’d grown accustomed to the rhythms of dorm life: the comfortingly irregular pattern of stereos blasts, slamming doors, and conversation fragments; the hum of the florescent lighting overhead; the gentle scrapings of my roommate’s pencil across the rough pages of her sketch book. Here though, there were only solitary sounds, frightening in their unfamiliarity: breeze rustling tree leaves I’d never seen, crickets chirping in grass I’d never walked, the cars of people I’d never met rolling into driveways up and down the street.