Last Sunday I stood in line for 30 minutes at Clear Flour Bakery, which should be called The Crack Den of Brookline, to buy bread to deliver to some friends with a note that said, “Election week sustenance.” I was kidding of course, just trying to help some friends get through the crazy with carbs, but that little note turned out to be prophetic.
The past week has been 1,387,922 years long. Since Tuesday, we’ve been living in la vida limbo, biting our nails, incessantly checking our phones, our computers, our tvs, our radios for news, praying, hoping, wishing, becoming intimately acquainted with Steve Kornacki, his khakis (Kornkhakis), and that little piece of hair that despite being gelled down, always pops up like a Jack-in-the-box, on the left side of his head. We drooled over Rachel’s barn door walls (in quarantine because a friend tested positive for Covid), noticed Rick Santorum was curiously rocking Kamala Converse, gloried in the wisdom coming out of John Meacham’s mouth.
We waited and we waited some more.
We texted friends, as we tried to maintain hope and composure. We tried to work, but who were we kidding. We drank wine and ate bad food. And then drank more wine and ate more bad food. We slept in fits and spurts, our phones beckoning us to check for news. Refresh, refresh, refresh. We waded through our days with the fear that Trump might unleash the Proud Boys and QAnon crowds to make trouble (and not good trouble). We wondered how long this could reasonably go on? We prepared ourselves for the worst, while hoping for the best. We made deals with God. We researched where we could move our lives to and how fast we could get there, in case things went sideways. We cried. We laughed. We napped.
And then Saturday morning, as my family and I were huddled around the tv, for day five, my daughter working on law school homework, my son just up, my husband sipping coffee, Joe Biden’s face appeared, a yellow box with a check mark next to the words that sounded like Truffle potato chips taste, “President Elect.”
Did Pennsylvania finally come in? Oh yes, it had. And it ushered in with it a collective sigh of relief that could be heard round the world–summed up in a tweet by the mayor of Paris, “Welcome back America.” Screams worthy of Horror pics escaped our mouths, only they were happy screams. We jumped up and down like kids who hear the ice cream tune coming down the street. We kissed and hugged. We toggled stations to see if it was real, and yes, even Fox News, Trump’s shadow administration, had called it for Biden. I opened my front door and let out a holler, a holler that had been living inside me for the past four years, waiting for freedom. My neighbor was banging pots in the backyard and so I joined her. Within minutes, our neighborhood poured into the street, unbridled joy in the form of a kitchen utensil heavy band. We danced unself-consciously, and wanting to hug each other, but masked and socially distanced, settled for yipping and howling and twirling our tired, giddy selves instead. Car horns beeped and spirits visibly rose and people laughed and texts flew into my phone from all over the country, all with the same basic sentiment–THE NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS OVER. And the week that was turned into a moment of pure and raucous elation. My shoulders, permanently parked up by my ears since that cruel night in 2016 began to melt down my back.
My husband and I drove to Castle Island and walked by the water on an unusually sunny and warm day in November and literally watched the tide turn.
The speeches were filled with optimism and warmth and Joe said, “Even if you didn’t vote for me, i’ll be your president,” and I believed him. And Kamala’s smile lit up the podium and her words, “And while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last,” echoed out into the deepest recesses of women’s hearts, everywhere.
Yup, after four of a power hungry president who lied, cheated, divided, insulted and murdered our planet, our standing, our children and our souls, Joe Biden, a 78 year old man who’s run for president twice unsuccessfully, served his country his whole life, lost his wife and baby daughter in an accident when he was just 29, and a grown son to cancer, held the office of VP for 8 years, possessing the compassion and empathy you can only have if you’ve been through the worst and come out the other end, and the integrity of the finest gentleman, became the president of the United States. And I felt a feeling I’d totally forgotten.
Gratitude to our country who voted to rebuke hate and division and lies and cheating and bullying and bigotry. I know we are divided. I know we have some enormous problems to face and fix. And I know this ain’t no disco, that it will be hard and painful to right this ship. But there’s an adult in the room again. And I believe, I really believe we’re going to be alright.