We'll Always Remember What's to Come
"A Georgetown rocker for my Hoya mom," he'd said grinning, himself a Hoya.
I smiled, tilting my head back on a small pillow. My eyes closed as they so often do on their own now. Even after years, your body never gets used to the effects of certain medicines. It always gives in, leaving me to sleep, at least, if not rest, at ease.
When they opened, my eyes rested on my husband, who sat in his arm chair next to me, but too far to reach. He sat up, fixated on the television.
"Look," he said. His voice had grown huskier as he aged, and only more debonair. "They're showing the ceremony." He pointed at the screen.
A young Black woman stood on the Presidential platform in front of the Capitol. Her husband, a tall, brown-skinned man with an easygoing smile, held President Lincoln's Bible, as she held up her right hand. Millions of people packed the National Mall. The crowd was veiled through red, as hundreds of thousands of American flags fluttered in the wind.
"I never thought I would see this," I confessed.
"Yeah, lawd," my husband said, smiling so wide I could see all of his dentures.
"Then again, that's not true," I continued. "I figured it would happen... Remember the first Black president? I mean, the very first one?"
He nodded. "How could I forget?" His eyes shined as they met mine.
"I remember the inauguration," I said, my eyes nostalgically drifting to the ceiling. "I wasn't going to go, since none of my friends wanted to come with me and stand out in the cold."
"Man, it was cold!"
"Wasn't it?" I shook my head, remembering the wind that cut across my nose and cheeks. "But it was January in Washington, DC. What a day. I was all the way back at the Washington Monument, by myself."
"But you weren't alone," he interjected. "You had two million of your closest friends there with you!"
I laughed. "I guess."
"I was there."
"No, you weren't."
"Yes, I was. And how would you know anyway? It's not like you could have seen me. Shoots. I had tickets. I was sitting right next to Beyonce."
He chuckled. "I was there, though. Up the Mall, nowhere near the Capitol, though."
I sighed. "I couldn't believe he'd won. I should never have doubted."
He leaned forward in his chair. "You did vote for him right?"
I blinked at him.
"Okay, okay." He sat back. "I did, too. I didn't tell anybody, though. I was president of the Young Republicans at the time, so I couldn't go around telling all willynilly."
"What was the name of that woman?" I asked.
"That woman. The Republican."
"No, that wasn't it."
"No... Oh, well."
"I always remembered that day, though," I resumed, settling comfortably into the rocker. "No matter how much time goes by, I'll always remember walking a mile in the cold down to the Mall, hugging strangers after he said the oath. The weatherman said it would be cloudy, but the sun shined anyway. I remember that."
"We changed after that," my husband said. "I changed after that."
"We all did. That's when we got our fathers and our husbands back. That's when we killed fear and doubt. That's when we finally started believing that all things are possible."
"It was a call to do better, because we knew we were better."
I nodded, my eyes watering. I set my head back on the pillow as, onscreen, our new President shook hands with the old. She hugged her husband and children, before shaking other important hands.
I smiled, feeling the medicine course through my tired body. I closed my eyes, drifting to sleep.
"But it was just the beginning," I whispered.