It's been 74 days since the storm passed. The fierce force we've known to occur every four years had come and gone, consuming various victims along the way. With a mix of victims and survivors among us all, the result of the 45th presidential election tested all levels of preparedness when faced with the decision that would change a nation.
74 days ago the mood was different. Hopes were higher. Optimism filled the air. Faith kept us a float. 73 days ago, the same can be said but at a lower degree.
1,752 hours ago it had been announced who would be the 45th president of the United States. While some were confident with their choice in a leader, others had to be realistic and consider an outcome less than favorable; I was the former.
Anxiety filled me throughout the night. Tosses mixed with turns constituted my sleep. I tried to go to sleep earlier than my usual nightly routine to avoid this anxiousness, but to my avail it was no help. As much as I tried to keep my body and restless mind at ease, the severity of the event I choose to not take part in haunted me like a bad dream. Some can say the bad dream was a result of my own willful ignorance, but in the moment my defiance was my way of making my own statement.
Seconds turned to minutes, which turned into hours. Finally, I rested. My conscious mind in slumber while my subconscious drifted to another dimension.
It was finally morning, and the first plan of action was to check my phone. I checked my phone to see if I had any messages pertaining to the election: none. The outcome couldn't be bad, I thought, since my phone had no alerts, frantic texts, or missed calls followed by voicemails stating how the world was coming to an end. Regular morning, or so I thought. On to check the news and see what I missed during my slumber and there it was: Donald J. Trump elected president of the United States.
For some, the election was America getting it wrong. For others, it was just another day of disappointment.
I froze. My stomach in a knot. Instantly sick and ill. This had to have been some sort of joke though the laughing studio audience in my mind dissipated as I scrolled down and continued to read the same message in different words, catching headlines, and clique clickbait. The results, only a few hours old, were there in cold, hard letters flashing thoughts in my head of the beginning of the end. A nation, Americans of all creeds and colors have fought so hard to destroy, was reborn from the ashes. Literature and entertainment glorify those born again from the ashes and outline of what used to be, but outside of the pages and off the big screen the reaction was different.
I stepped outside of my door to begin my day. The air was thick. The temperature was in a limbo between hot and cold. The streets were empty. Under normal circumstances this isn't an alarming scene of what it's like at 5 a.m., but under these circumstances everything meant something. No people outside was just as important as a celebratory parade. Order was equally terrifying as chaos. No feelings were equally as vital as passion and happiness.
I walked down the street and distant glimpses into the early morning’s darkness showed signs of light. People. Up and at it to tackle another day at work.
It felt like a scene of The Walking Dead. Early risers roaming. Aimlessly wandering though what they were searching for was known. Their faces were blank. Either unbothered by the current events, unaware, or uninterested. Stiff and still with slight motion moving them forward. I was no exception. I was a zombie, too. Emptied and hollowed on the inside but my soul still intact.
While their mission may have been livelihood, I was watching and pinpointing those with the feeling of TGIT (Thank God, it's Trump).
A few straight faces. Some smiles. Conversations for ones in pairs. The silence was loud while the few voices that could be heard fell on deaf ears. A paradoxical world where nothing existed but everything meant something.
The day continued with these same feelings. No sight of light or brightness on the horizon of a gloomy day. Even New York City, sinister, seductive, and a woman of mystery showed her true colors that day. She was, for the first time in a long time, worrisome and vulnerable. Shivering and shaking, a coat of uncertainty covering her.
1,776 hours and one inauguration later, here we are. Still in tact, which some may be surprised about especially depending on what your definition of in tact is. Hopefulness hasn't been fully restored, but it hasn’t been fully lost. What I learned that historic day from the early risers that continues to ring true everyday since: livelihood is life, not dwelling in disparity.