After I found out that the thing was mutual, I felt nervous about going into work. I didn’t know how I was supposed to act, whether I was supposed to hug him hello and goodbye, etc. His desk was in a very male-occupied space and it always felt very vulnerable to visit him there. Election Day, on the possible cusp of our first female president and with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, I was also fretting about whether I’d been too affectionate in my voting-morning text. I’m not superproud that my Call Me Maybeness helped get me through the day, but there was also poetry and canvassing and a general sense of patriotic/neighborhood love that made such a fraught day as bearable as possible.
Then, of course, the worst happened. After a year of hope and struggle and fighting misogynist trolls and as much canvassing and phone banking as I could handle, after a year of telling the library kids it would be okay, of telling Bernie Bros to fuck off, of boycotting conservative relatives, the worst happened and Trump won. Wednesday morning, at the college bookstore where we work together, Sweetie and I listened to Hillary’s beautiful concession speech and cried even as we tried to take courage. On my commute, I alternated between singing along with my upbeat playlist and sobbing. If I never hear Fight Song again, it’ll be too soon.
My plan when I got to my afternoon job at the library was to be strong and soothing for the kids, to help them feel as hopeful as possible, but when I got to the children’s department, my friend the Nice Genderqueer Librarian saw me and burst into tears so we held each other and I sobbed loudly and brokenheartedly in front of the kids and everyone. There was nothing else to be done at that moment.
One of the other security guards was down in our department showing concern and accepting a hug, so I was brave/needy enough to snivel “Can you get (Mr. Makeout Music) for me?” She smiled and radioed for him. He totally Muppeted out when he saw me, just reached his arms out as far as they could go and gave me the warmest, friendliest, most joyful hug imaginable. I got the chance to tell him “I’m sorry white people suck so bad!” which is a sentiment I’ll be expressing as often as possible for the foreseeable future. (Seriously, if you’re a white person reading this, get it the fuck together and stand up for people of color. And while I’m at it, if you’re a man reading this, get it the fuck together and stand up for women. It’s past time to inventory your privilege and start using it to help. We’re past life and death here.)
Oh pals, Mr. Makeout Music took such good care of me that day. He talked me through the good and evil factors at play in the election and helped me to articulate my silver lining, which was that good people were drawing together in anger and love. He also asked if he could come visit me at the bookstore that Friday, since the library was closed for Veteran’s Day. I was delighted at the prospect of him distracting me at both my jobs, so we made plans for a picnic on the Hogwarts-esque campus where I work. No one would begrudge me a long lunch on such a week.
That sad Wednesday was made much less sad by the fact that he spent almost my whole shift by my side. He brought his notebook down and worked on a paper so soothingly next to me, it was just such a comfortable family feeling. He joked with the kids and parents and watched me stave off apoplexy when a mean-girling parent tried to challenge my taste in music. When he switched tables to play chess with my teen assistants, I drew flowers, stars, and tiny red hearts all over his homework while I had a Shine Bright Like a Diamond singalong with one of the little girls. I was totally singing to Mr. Makeout Music. When he turned around from chess to see how the homework-art was progressing, his eyes flashed something so beautiful and perfect and clear. I felt bathed in a glittery cloud of safety and strength, like I recognized someone so special and devoted and true. And, I hopehopehoped, mine.