now what

I was at work when the news came, when the world changed. I was at work and we are not supposed to show our emotions on our sleeves, our choices on our lapels, but we couldn’t help it, and we clapped our hands and laughed and said yes.

My father called and said, “Thank you, California!” and I replied, “Thank you, Pennsylvania!” and for a few minutes it was like we were in the same place.

I sent my mother a text that read, “Yes, we can, and yes, we did! Congratulations on a new America, mooms.” She replied that she was with me, and for a few minutes, she was.

On the train home, I sneakily studied the faces of the people around me, thinking: does he know yet? Is she happy? And then I pretended as if I didn’t know yet, as if my breath was still held. We were all suspended in that time between hoping and knowing.

Later, my beloved and I opened a bottle of pinot noir and danced in the street. No longer ashamed, we threw each other around the place like children, skittering away from headlights, heaving laughter. I slept heavily, untouched by tendrils of fear.

Not all the battles were won last night, but we are girded with new energy and resilience. Now no longer ground into disparate paste, I have so many questions for our new leader:

What do we do next? How do we continue moving forward? How do we fight for the rights of all Americans? What is the plan? How can I help?

Now what?

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.