Eyelids flittering, I hand-searched for my phone against the dark. 3:45 am, the screen flashes. Sleep: three hours. I shut my eyes and wrap my arms back around Lia. Toss, turn. 4:00 am. Toss. 4:15. I give up entirely and rise.
I put my headphones on, wondering if I should write another letter to the Universe. Do the words ever reach their destination? If they do, does the Universe play favorites? If “a vote is a prayer about the kind of world we want to live in”, what kind of world were the others praying for? We manifested for light and love and penned our little notes in secret corners, out loud together. And yet, here we are, in a state of loss, despair, and fear, the embers in our hands suffering a slow, painful death.
Outside the window, the day’s turning over a new leaf. A flock of birds is readying for feeding, gliding beautifully across soft hues of blue, pink, and salmon. It’s a good day to be alive. But for some reason the sun hurts and the sky bleeds dismally. These past grueling days have desolated every filament of hope that I tucked inside that ballot. The past, present, and future are all encroaching on my safe space.
I remind myself of last night, however difficult it is to take in its lessons: Perhaps in an attempt to console both of us, I asked Lia her favorite thing about Leni and Kiko’s rallies. She is still mad – at the ruling class that made pawns out of us, not the ones who voted for them.
“Everything,” she replied.
“How about the house-to-house talks? What was your favorite thing about it?”
“Meeting the other kids who were doing house to house, too.” Mark, a cheerful 11-year old, is her favorite.
“But you know what my top one is? It was when we stayed behind when the group went home, because you wanted to go back to those construction workers they skipped and talk to them. That was very kind,” she enthused.
We both smiled. I swept stray hair off her face. “Don’t forget those, Lia. Your anger is valid and real. But what you felt in the rallies, during house to house, they are very real too. And they are worth remembering.”