Written on the Train

Note from the Editors: If you’ve ever read our blog, you know that we here at Beauty Coup are champions of women. The political events of this week have us reeling with shock and uncertainty, but above all we are ready to fight. The next four years will not be easy, but complacency is not an option. S’s heart-wrenching writing below shows us only the preliminary glimpses of what we are up against.  
 
Know that we are here with you. We are Others, as many of you are, too. We are all in this together, and in the face of hatred and violence we will not back down. If anyone tells you to be calm in the face of all this hatred, you quote our good friend G: “I won’t be calm, there’s rage in Love. Ask mothers.”
 
In Solidarity,
S & E

train-station

Written on the Train 
things I heard and saw today
November 9, 2016

One
The morning after election day
You let me stay home from school.
It’s the first time you ever did that.
You are usually on the train by six– gym, work, meeting,
sorry sweetheart,
But today, it’s different because it’s already nine
and you let us wear our pajamas to the bodega,
where you and Mr. Wong talk quietly.

Two
Everybody on this train
Looks like they’re going to a funeral,
says the man as he gets off at Court Street,
laughing, and turning his hat around.
Cheer up, it’s still America.
Stand clear of the closing doors.

Three
My boss’s hands flit nervously–
Whisking thin blonde hairs back,
Wrapping and unwrapping the scarf at her neck
Tucking and untucking her shirt.
She’s slammed her office door closed
three times now
to cry.
But when her husband calls
she just asks him if they have an onion.
She’ll be home by six.

Four
You already called your mom, and she said was happy for us–
just upset that she couldn’t be here. Obviously.
You’re talking too fast, like you do
when you’ve practiced what you’re going to say.
When you don’t want me to see that you’re unhappy.
We stand on the steps of the courthouse. It’s raining.
It’s not how I wanted to marry you. In the rain. No party.
But what if next year
we can’t?

Five
We decided months ago what we would do
if he was elected.
I went to work, without my hijab,
to give my notice.
I begged the principal not to make me say goodbye
to my students.
Because, how could I explain?
She holds my hand. Says that the kids were all crying,
and holding each other, at breakfast.
One asked her,
Will my father be sent away?
She curses under her breath. But she respects my choice.
We will be safer with my family
in Pakistan.

Six
The older women are whispering in the kitchen
where I’m hoping to find coffee.
“He grabbed me, and they didn’t do anything. He was my boss.”
The others nod, click their tongues, let out soft sounds of affirmation.
“That’s how it was back then, remember?”
They do.

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