Hope Rides the Subway

On this day, our dreams have been uprooted and now they will change.

Today, the subway is as quiet as a breath between movements. All the women sit staring into space, glass-eyed, adrift. Yesterday we were all sitting so tall. Everyone is silent—the women and the men—as though we’ve all witnessed an unspeakable act of violence. What do we do now? We slowly move along.

A large, older man is staring at my face. He moves around making it hard for me to avert my eyes, but I do. How many men like this say the correct thing when inside they’re living in the 1950s? More, it seems, than I ever imagined.

A professional woman my mom’s age keeps shaking her head and covering her mouth. She’s having a conversation with herself on loop, the way you do after a break up. No? Yes. No! Yes. No. YES. Light flashes in the dark tunnel, and I can read the writing on the wall.

Even in my wishing, I’m already bargaining. I wish someone to I tell me that even if the Affordable Care Act is repealed in the first 100 days, someone somewhere has a plan. I wish President Obama could somehow magically appoint a Supreme Court justice before he goes. I wish Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be immortal.

I want so badly to thank Hillary Clinton for her bravery and commitment, and to apologize to her, and to tell her it wasn’t all for nothing. This is not the summation of her life and it will not be how she is remembered.

Everyone is quiet on the subway and no one checks their phones―we’ve learned too late to turn them off. Last night, one of my Faceboook friends posted, “If your entire newsfeed is full of sad people then you are living in a bubble.” No one is in the bubble now; now we are awake. The question is, do we try to go back to sleep or figure out how to get off this train we’re on?

A woman looks up at me with sore eyes. On this day, our dreams have been uprooted and now they will change. Hope has not been lost, but it has been scattered. As our eyes meet, a kind smile passes over her features. She is smiling at me because she sees me and because she knows I am her sister. As I smile back, I can feel a small seed of courage take root.