Friday, February 10, 2017

“Pink Hats, Rainbow Signs, Energy, and Kind People” by Holly Jo McClelland

I bolt out of bed at 5:45 am.
Today is the day I get to make history,
I say to myself.  
Well, today, and every day that follows.  
That thought is motivation enough.  
I dance downstairs to the kitchen.
I eat my breakfast.  
I'll need my strength today,
I think.  
It has been two months and twelve days
Since Zombie Morning.  
Positivity is back.  
I get dressed.
I carefully pin on the sash I made the night before.  
The front side reads, “RISE UP.”
Each letter a different color of the rainbow.
Because love always wins.  
The back side is a list.
An enumeration of all the women
For whom I will be marching today.  
Each name a different color of the rainbow.
Because love is love.  
And I will march for everyone.  
I run my fingers down the list.
I don't know how I got so lucky
To have such strong, inspirational female role models in my life,
I ponder.  
Anyhow, I am glad I do.  
I cannot wait to think of them all today.
I hug my parents.
They are excited, too.
I begged them to let me march today.
I think they are proud.  
We hop in the car.  
We drive to the metro.  
The roads are flooded with cars
For so early an hour on a Saturday morning.
I like to think they are bound for the march, too.  
The metro station is packed to the brim.
It is full of pink hats
Rainbow signs
Energy
And kind people.  
I snap a photo of a group of women from Michigan.
They tell me how much they love my sash.
I thank them and beam.  
The train arrives.  
The doors open.  
I think to myself,
New Year’s Eve in Times Square must be something like this.  
Swarms of women
(And men, I note happily)
Are packed inside.  
I just barely squeeze myself in,
Pulling my parents behind me.  
There is no room to breathe.  
But I don't mind.  
Oddly enough, I like crowds.  
Especially crowds like this.  
I talk to a woman and her daughter
From Mobile, Alabama.  
They tell me the tale
Of their long-but-worth-it road trip
And how excited they are
To be here today.  
The march has not yet begun.
I am not even in the city yet.  
Still, for the first time since the election,
I am comforted.  
I am not alone.
I knew that, of course.
But here is living proof.  
Finally, the turbulent train ride slows to a halt.  
Foggy Bottom.
This is it.
Mom, Dad, and I hold hands.
We force ourselves through the masses
And onto the platform.
We wave at the train
As it starts to move again.  
Everyone on it waves back,
Flashing thumbs up
And grinning broadly.
I am filled with hope.
I skip up the escalator
And out into the street.
We aren't yet at the epicenter.  
Mom, Dad, and I walk towards the mall.  
Passersby wink at me.  
I wink back.  
On our way,
We meet a girl and her mom
From St. Louis,
Also bound for the march.  
Their passion is beautiful.  
We approach the mall.  
It is a horde of yet more passionate people,
Waving posters and banners
And chanting in excitement.
“THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!”
They holler.
We join in.  
It is true.  
We push our way through the masses.
I look around.
I am in complete awe of the scene.  
T-shirts and signs reading,
“Women's rights are human rights”
“March like a girl”
“Nasty Women unite”
“Stronger Together”
“Love Trumps Hate”
“We all make America great”
And more still
Abound.  
I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes
From the musical “Hamilton.”
“This is not a moment, it's the movement,”
Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote.  
How much those words
Meant to describe the stirrings of the Revolution
Ring true in today’s America.
I am part of this movement.
I am so grateful.  
I look over at my parents.
We take hands again.
We take a step forward.

We march.

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