Her face stares out at me from the newspaper. I keep looking at it. Keep wanting to put in $1.50 in quarters into the newspaper machine and do something I haven’t done in years: buy one. Keep it. Hold it quietly to my chest. Cradle it in my arms in wonder.
Yes, she’s the candidate for president. I don’t know her. I’m pretty sure that I don’t even agree with everything she stands for. And yet. And yet. She stands for me.
When Mandela was freed and when Obama was elected – that touched my heart. When gay marriage was legalized, it all made me so proud for how accepting our world had become. It was a long haul from being asked to witness the wills of gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980’s. And now I realize that with this one change today, the world may actually be ready to accept me.
I am no longer young. No one gives me a second glance. And there are times when I get to the end of the day and the couch calls me. It calls to me like iron is called to a magnet. Lying down feels safe. Closing my eyes will make the world go away for just a little while. I won’t have to fight it for a short time.
The house that needs cleaning, the garden that needs tending and any issues the children have, they can manage on their own. And work has given me a few hours when I can legitimately not answer an email. Joe is not there to give me love, but then I don’t want to be company anyway. Not right now.
The picture. I look at it again. Arms outstretched. Smile. Happy. Accepted. Winning!
Many years ago I was given a gift. I cradled the black shiny stamped handbag in my arms. Unable to talk. Unable to thank the woman who gave it to me. It was perfect – and she had given it to me. My reaction was so odd that she later asked if I’d liked it at all. I liked it so much I kept it long after it fell apart. The insides finally disintegrating all over my belongings. Like now, I could only be quiet – stunned at the generosity of the most beautiful of gifts. It seems, now, who I am has also found an echo of widespread acceptance. Maybe my strength is no longer as much of a threat to others. Maybe I have intrinsic worth I don’t have to fight every day to prove.
Maybe at this new found gift, I should let out my tears and dance in the street so that everyone will know just how excited and happy and amazed I feel. And maybe I’ll just hold this feeling close and let the tears of joy fall inside.