Do you hear voices? I do, sometimes, as I fall asleep. My brain goes soft and conversations spring up, as though from another room. I can hear the voices, but not the words. People talking, not angry, not excited, matter of fact. As if they’re discussing the grocery list.
This morning, four-thirty-two, like a radio announcer or a teacher in front of his class, he spoke, clear, audible in a way that people like me, the hearing impaired, don’t expect: “The director is dead.” I woke up, knowing who he meant. The superintendent of Gettysburg Area Schools—someone who rarely spends any time in my thoughts. He sends me lots of emails, but I never read them. I emailed him last summer when he announced there would be no mask-mandate in the high school. His response was unsatisfying, essentially “thank you for your email.” That’s my only interaction with the Superintendent.
A half a day later, no news stories about his death, I’m not so sure I got it right. An obvious dream-analysis would point to Trump. In fact, right before I went to bed last night, scrolling Facebook, enjoying the rejoicing from my friends, I saw a meme of the Wicked Witch of the East. No caption, just legs poking from beneath a house. The meaning as clear as a voice spoken inside my head.
Today, I want to summarize, to wrap-up my feelings from the past four years. The betrayal, the disappointment, the disgust. But I’m not ready yet. I can’t assemble my thoughts beyond scattered snippets of relief. I scarcely believe it’s true, Biden and Harris won the election. On the morning after election day, when I opened my browser, it appeared that Biden lost the race, that the Democrats lost the Senate and the House. Susan woke up a half hour later, and I told her all was lost. I began to reevaluate my life.
Saturday night, first Kamala Harris, then Joe Biden spoke. They didn’t ramble, they didn’t brag. They pointed no fingers, they spoke inclusively but also seriously about the challenges we all face. I breathed deeply, as if I found fresh air for the first time in years, me and the whole world—an audible gasp or sigh, and then breath, in and out, tension evaporating. The sun rose in the middle of the night. A fitting bookend to a dark and dangerous year.