I take the dog out.
He’s been patient throughout the election coverage, but he needs out now. It’s cold. Our yard faces out onto the street, on a corner. We wanted to build a fence but couldn’t save enough before it grew too late. It’s spitting rain, and leaves are whipping down the pavement making wet slapping sounds. I’m not sure, given what’s happening to the dollar, that we’ll be able to afford a fence in spring, either.
Under the circumstances, a fence — which rings far too closely to a wall, in these bitter hours — is the least of my problems.
The big guys walking down the street, though, are immediate. They remind me why I wanted the fence. They are drunk. Loud. White. Coming from election coverage downtown? A bar? A house? I don’t know. I shrink against the siding, in the shadow cast by a streetlight on the corner. The dog growls a little, and I silently beg him to hush. He is ten pounds; he’d defend me but he’d be kicked aside like a football. Go away, go away, go away, I think. I want the men to go away so I can step out of the shadow of the house and open the door and go inside.
I think they are gone, and I relax, and then the wind gusts and sends a bit of the neighbor’s rotted garden gate thumping heavily down into the leaves. I jump, and bite back a curse, in case the drunk guys are still around. And the fear of that, and the stupidity of thinking a fence would save me, or anyone, from the shit that is coming, not from a couple guys but from the thousands like them across the country who helped this to happen, slaps at me hard and I stand there, waiting to cry. Thinking it would help.
But I don’t. It wouldn’t. I’m not nearly the worst off here; I have no right to tears. White, cis, and bi but able through marriage to pass as straight, I don’t have half as much to fear as my trans and POC friends. As the people I thought I could sigh with relief with over the lunacy of this election, tomorrow. The people who thought, like I did, that this wouldn’t happen. Couldn’t happen.
That it was lunacy.
There are people in my feeds saying their mothers are warning them not to wear hijabs. Saying to their friends, their partners, if you need documentation from your city/county/state re: your gender, do it now. Now. Because you may only have 70 days in which to do so. I see people from Korea, Scotland, France, panicking. Panicking. About us and what we’ve done, and who we’ll hurt along the way toward what we’ll do. Some people, strong people, are already plotting and planning and discussing what they will do. How to minimize the damage done. They have the energy to do this.
But I am low on energy. I was supposed to be trying to have a child by now, after the MCM, but instead I spent the day before the election in a radiology lab as a woman ran a wand back and forth over my collarbone, squinting at a screen to see if it was cancer. You do not, of course, attempt to have a child if your collarbone is decorated with tumors like Christmas ornaments.
Even if you’re healthy, though, do you still make that attempt, if the country that child would be born into is on fire?