It is November the first, year of our Lord 2020.
The night is dark. An icy rain patters against the roof.
I shiver as I scroll through the headlines.
Covid deaths are rising around the globe. Caravans of crazed Trump supporters are blocking highways and bridges. They nearly drive a Biden bus off the road. The polls sway back and forth, yanking me from hope to despair and back again. Gun sales are soaring. Grocery store shelves are frighteningly devoid of toilet paper and yeast.
A gust of wind scatters crumpled leaves across the driveway.
The candle in my Jack-o-lantern flickers.
I shift in my chair, trying to get comfortable. The kitchen clock ticks loudly in the silent house.
I. Feel. Every. Freaking. Second. Ticking. Off.
How will I get through the next forty-eight hours?
Should I make a huge pot of espresso and just plan to stay up until it’s all over? Or should I grab some weed butter and a cup of Sleepy Time tea and pray for oblivion?
I am torn.
What if Trump wins?
The mere thought of it has my stomach heaving.
What if he loses, but pretends that he wins?
A pounding headache joins the nausea.
What if he loses, everyone knows he loses, but he refuses to accept the final results? What if it goes to the Supreme Court? The Court Trump so recently stacked in his favor for just such an occasion? What then?
How can I maintain my sanity between now and the moment the polls close?
Is there enough chocolate left over from Halloween to see me through?
More importantly, is there enough vodka under this roof?
I am filled with real dread. Actual, honest to God, shaking in my boots dread. It’s the kind of feeling you get the night before a long, complex, dangerous surgery.
I am sixty-four years old. I have never lived through a time like this one. The surreal has become common. The unthinkable is suddenly on everyone’s mind.
Few Americans doubt that the next days and weeks will be chaotic and confused. Most of us believe that there will be at least some level of violence and civil unrest.
But how far it will go is something we cannot predict. There are moments when I fear that the US military will become involved in suppressing public reaction to the election. But that would mean civil war, wouldn’t it? How is it possible that we are even thinking that thought?
I take a deep breath. My heart is racing and I can’t find a way to stop my thoughts.
I dread tomorrow. I dread tomorrow night.
Most of all, I dread the thought that this sense of impending doom will continue on past the closing of the polls, stretching out into an unpredictable and bleak future.
November first, twenty twenty.
How the hell are we going to get through it?