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She stood in front of her apartment door with her coat over her arm, purse over her shoulder, briefcase in her right hand and her keys in her left. It had been a very long day.
Finally, she lifted her keys to the lock, twisted the key slowly and pushed. The door groaned open and she stepped inside.
It seemed even darker than usual. She breathed in the shadows and let her shoulders sag. She wasn’t on stage now. She could relax. But her shoulders didn’t want to cooperate.
Finally, she walked inside and switched on a lamp. She dropped her purse, briefcase, and coat, and missed the nearby chair. They fell to the floor, seeming to mimic her own sagging body. Then she turned and went into the tiny kitchen and opened the fridge. She had an open bottle of wine—how did she not finish it off last night?—and set it on the counter. Opening the cabinet, she studied her mismatched set of glasses and selected one in front. Pouring herself a glass of wine, she walked slowly to her favorite chair. It was looking more worn than usual, stains on it from when her father drank his beer. She dropped into the chair, taking care not to spill her wine—not that it was a good wine, but it was her last bottle.
As she leaned back in the chair, she used her empty hand to pull her hair back from her face, and thought about the day. It had been grueling. She’d gotten up at 5 am and not being a morning person, she stumbled around her bedroom getting ready. After drinking her second cup of coffee, standing at her kitchen counter, she picked up her purse, coat and a worn leather briefcase. Her script was inside, and she wasn’t sure she’d remember the whole thing; lately it had stopped coming naturally. Then she went on to the Capitol, where she spent time berating government officials, particularly where she could find idle cameramen. She scolded her protestors for not being angrier and more passionate. And she did end up having to refer to the script so that her people could repeat the entire “liturgy” after her. You’d think she’d have it memorized by now, but she seemed to have a mental block that separated her passion from the words. After drifting through the hallways, shouting comments at Republicans and their staffers, she decided to call it a day and headed home.
And here she was.
She pressed her fingers against her closed eyes, hoping they would soothe her restlessness, and took another sip out of her wine glass. The only sound was the ticking of the grandfather clock that her grandparents had left her. It was the only item she had to remember them by, and was easily the most valuable piece in her apartment. She’d pawned off everything else before she’d stumbled onto the organization that was willing to hire her as staff, to lead protests, orient new participants and show up on schedule.
She opened her eyes. The apartment that she had so treasured when she began this resistance began to feel like a prison. She was beginning to wonder if anything she did was making a difference. She was even wondering what it meant to make a difference. Socialism? Healthcare for all? Taxing the rich? Was any of it possible? Did it make sense? Her brother, brainwashed by Republicans, had recently given her the details of Venezuela, the starving people and the government zealotry; she’d half-heartedly argued with him. Could we really do socialism differently than they did and be successful?
As she pondered these questions, she noticed the phone next to her was blinking with a voicemail. It was probably her mother with her endless requests for her to go to church with her on Sunday. A part of her wanted to go, just to see her mother. Otherwise, what was the point?
She shook her head slowly. Secretly, she wanted to believe there was a greater purpose, a higher authority. But she just couldn’t quite get there. So she was stuck in this place of doubt, loneliness, her own purgatory.
She closed her eyes again and took one last sip of wine.
As she fell asleep, the wine glass fell silently out of her hand onto the carpet.
She dreamt of emptiness and shadows.Published in