The Day After

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Woke up this morning to my wife crying and held her for an hour. Not cool, America. Not cool.

Today, as I’ve gone about my work, tried to keep productive, listened to heartbroken friends, I’ve tried to think of what to say, what to write, what to do.

I’ve tried to think of what to tell my children, my daughters.

I’ve tried to think of what to say to my Latinx and LGBTQ+ friends, who are very dear to me.

I’ve tried to think of how to console my wife, even as my own gut is gnawed with worry over Pence’s pledge to gut Medicaid and Trump’s blithe disregard for the disabled. I see my wife surviving (with a strength that wows me) the worst PTSD symptoms she has dealt with in years, the morning after we elected a man who sees nothing wrong with walking up to women and grabbing them by the p*ssy, whose core followers chant online “Repeal the 19th!” and chant offline “Lock her up!”

I’ve tried to think of how to respond tactfully and with grace to my well-meaning but oblivious conservative friends today who try to tell me, “It’s not that bad. Calm down please.”

I’ve tried to think at all.

At the office today, a lot of people are in tears. There is my Latina coworker. There is my white coworker with a Latino husband and Latinx family. There is my gay coworker. There is me, frightened for my daughter’s health and safety.

On my phone, there are my dear friends who are wondering if a few years down the line, if it will be illegal for them to raise their children together.

I am stunned.

Not because I have been caught off guard, not because of surprise, but because of the shock of it. You can see a fist coming for your face in advance; when it hits, you’re still going to be stunned.

All I have in me to say is this:

To those who stand to lose far more than I do: I will stand by you and fight for you and will back you and listen to you and hear you. Always.

To my daughter River: Take care of your POC classmates at school who are scared. Sometimes the bully wins. But not forever. Not tomorrow. Not the next day. You are young and smart and your mother and I will defend you while we can, but you are also strong and no one can ever break you and you will make this world what you want it to be. Remember the Grand Canyon? A little river made that. A little river cut that out of stone. A little River can do anything.

To my daughter Inara: I will fight for you with every breath I have. I am so proud of you. When you walk, everything in me sings. You inspire me to keep living a life of reckless love, relentless service, and unstoppable hope.

To my readers, present and future: Yes, I’m hurting today. Time to roll up my sleeves and tell more stories. We’re going to need them.

Stant Litore

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