Relief

I’ve been checking the news all morning, all week, clicking from the Times to NPR to CNN. There’s no news, and then there is. Our neighbors are outside playing soccer, and I go out to tell them. We check several sources to be sure it’s true.

A friend down the street texts: we have a bottle of prosecco, do you want to come celebrate in our back yard? So we do, and we toast on their back deck, masked, while the boys jump on the trampoline. We talk about where we were in 2008. She was in San Francisco and a party erupted in the street outside. We were in Virginia, our one-year-old asleep in our tiny condo.

In the evening, friends come over to sit by the fire. The weather is unseasonably warm, a gift. They bring Nutella for the s’mores, and we watch the victory speeches on a laptop propped on a TV tray, marveling at the history happening in front of us, marveling that it is happening at all.

I wanted it to be a landslide, and I don’t understand why it wasn’t. And yet, the relief comes not only from the victory, but that the process worked. The long lines, the record turnout: we still believe that we each have a voice. We believe in the power to govern ourselves. Democracy endures.

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