Saul Wordsworth

On US Election night

My head hit the pillow at midnight.

Please let it be Hilary.

The alarm was set for 6am.

Please.

In the morning a Speed Awareness course for my heedless sins.

Please.

I woke at 3.30, rose and peered through the blinds. The rain was teeming down, accompanied by a stillness and a silence. The silence was disquieting and foreboding. Preposterous perhaps, fanciful even, but hyperreal to me: I felt a malign presence.

I turned on the radio.

“No one could have predicted…”
“Yet again the polls…”
“Poised to be the greatest upset…”

There were messages from friends across the water. All were frightened. Two had consumed barbiturates. WhatsApp shared the fear:

“I’m awake too. Heart thumping.”

At five I made myself a full cafetiere of coffee and turned on the television.

At 6.30 I showered.

I left the house at 7.

The roads were quiet, though the rain persisted. I chose music over news.

At 7.20 I pulled over and I cried. I cried for the immigrants who now live under a shadow. I cried for the Muslims. I cried for the minorities, and for the outsiders. I cried for progress. I cried for civilisation, and for Martin Luther King. I cried for the legitimising of prejudice and hate.

I attended the Speed Awareness course. No one mentioned the election.

At the end I drove home, more slowly than usual.

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