We get to work and sit around the conference table. Our eyes are bloodshot but we maintain a steady gaze to keep our bottom eyelids from quivering. It’s as if we’re trying to hide how we’re feeling, except when someone says “good morning, how are you?” we resoundingly answer, “bad.”
Mild pressure builds behind my eyes.
I scroll through scholarly articles stored in my mind. I recall the words from opinion pieces. I repeat the words I’ve spoken before about how this would logically happen. About the low-income men, the forgotten rural Americans, the white people watching their lives and the America they know quite literally change. But there was never 51 million of them in my head. There couldn’t be, right? There are some people who can sympathize with violence and prejudice because they’ve experienced it themselves. But some has never been enough to win an election. Until it was.
My tear ducts dry up; they have nothing left to give.
The sun rises so I do too, to go to work and do my job. I write checks, talk with clients, attend a professional development workshop. What would help me do my job better? Probably a confirmation that my clients and coworkers won’t be raped, deported, or killed. But that’s just me.
I feel like I have friends at the center of a terrorist attack and I call or text them incessantly to see if they’re still breathing. Pray for people of color. They say nothing has happened yet. They’re fine, don’t worry. Yet I know there will be no sign, no harbinger of death, that I will receive on the day that they’re no longer fine. There will be no more obvious warning than this. I need Facebook to put a frame on my profile picture that says “pray for the vulnerable.”
Pray, but to the Christian god, and pray in English because we have a national religion and language here now.
Pray, but remember it’s a sin to say “equality” now.
Pray, but do not kneel, in case you have to run.
This is where we are now.