Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Counting the Days

The other night, I set out to replenish the cotton squares in my medicine cabinet.  I use one each night to remove my makeup.  Typically, I buy a large bag and then take a dozen or so from the bag and place them in the cabinet for my daily use.  In this way, I keep track of how many I’ve used and, as the supply wanes, make a note to add replacements to my Target shopping list.

On Monday, when I grabbed a new stack of squares I had the idle thought that when these squares were gone, the election would be over, and Donald Trump would no longer be in my daily mental landscape.  

The realization was both thrilling and telling.  Thrilling,, because I long ago grew weary of this man and his hateful, ignorant, and incendiary rhetoric.  To think that he will soon be gone from my daily world is exciting.  And telling, because I had not realized how much his presence in my personal newsfeed had taken its toll on my heart and soul.

Eleven years ago, I began to take note of the passage of time by marking the shrinking piles of things I used in my daily life: cotton squares, dryer sheets, coffee filters…..all were small markers as I looked for time to pass and ease the pain of my broken heart.   It started in a peculiar fashion, in July of 2066, just a few weeks after JT’s other mother had left our family, when I was struggling mightily with an engulfing sadness.  One evening, I used the last coffee filter to set up the coffee pot for my morning coffee and I realized we’d bought those filters together.  Now I would buy filters on my own.  That summer found me marking all the things I would now take care of on my own.  I looked to these mundane items for the healing that the passage of time would provide.  When I’ve run through these 160 dryer sheets, I’d think, it will hurt less.  When these 250 coffee filters have gone, I’d hope, this break up won’t be my first thought each morning when I come awake.

The odd little remedy was a comfort.  Within a year, I was better.  As time marched on, the heartache was less acute.  Eventually, the wound healed.  

Counting out 3 dozen cotton squares and then realizing that when they were gone, the pain that is Donald Trump will have been defeated was surprising.  I hadn’t realized the toll that this election had taken on my subconscious.  But it has taken a toll.  The spite, the ignorance about our democracy, the dismissive attitude toward women, the vindictive rhetoric, the demonizing of decent people, and the hateful language: I am done with it all.  

I want hope.  I want the promise of a nation that works together and moves forward in unity.  I want an appeal to our better angels.  I want to go through my day and neither hear nor read of Donald Trump.

On Monday, when I counted out the cotton squares, it was 22 days until November 8.  As of today, it is 20 days.  We can do this, America.  We can hold on.

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