The Morning After

Image by DonkeyHotey, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Image by DonkeyHotey (Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

He sat there. Alone. In Silence.

The Secret Service detail had departed, as a unit, at around 11:10 PM, just moments after all the major networks had declared the race an electoral college landslide for his opponent.

His campaign chairman and his campaign manager had each left shortly thereafter, he to unwind with a Russian drinking buddy, she to meet with several Fox execs about a hosting deal for a nightly political talkfest.

His three oldest children had milled about—gloomy and anxious, keeping their distance from his seething, hulking silence—until just after 11:30 PM, when he abruptly dismissed them with a wordless wave of his hand.

His wife—who’d watched the returns from her separate apartment, two floors down, and who’d gone to bed before midnight—was now, a little after 6 AM, still sleeping soundly.

And he—he’d now been sitting there, alone, in silence, for almost seven hours, glaring at the eyes of a photograph staring back at him from a frame on his desk.  His glare was an angry glare, a hateful glare, a glare at once hot with rage yet cold as ice, both seething and freezing.  For almost seven hours, in silence, he fumed without lull or pause until finally, as the dark night began its fade into morning, he addressed the stoic visage whose gaze he had never been able to ignore.

“Go ahead,” he sneered, “say it!  Believe me, I know what you’re thinking—just go ahead and say it!”  


“I’m not good enough,” he spewed derisively, “right?!  That’s what you think, right?!  That’s what you’ve always thought, right?!”


“Well,” he barked, as he stood up, lifted the frame with both hands, and drew it to within inches of his face, “you’re wrong! You’re wrong, wrong, wrong,” he continued, spittle spewing from the corners of his mouth, hands shaking the frame, “you’ve always been wrong! You’ve been wrong for so long you wouldn’t know ‘right’ if it smacked you in the face, which, believe me, is something I should have done a long time ago, and something I’d like to do right now, believe me!”

Again—but for his deep nasal sniffling with each fulsome inhalation—silence.

And then, as if the passing of a seizure, the escalating fury broke—replaced, in an instant, by a deep and overpowering sorrow.  Sitting himself down slowly, he returned the frame neatly to its place on his desk, then uttered the words no one else had ever heard pass through his lips.  “I’m sorry,” he said.

“I just wanted you to love me, Mother. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Just for you to love me.”

Then, amid the bounty and the baubles of his pompous private sanctum—alone in the tangled, twisted, tortured silence of his gilded designer womb—he buried his face in the palms of his hands and tried, but failed, to cry.

~~Kenn Shapiro

[Author’s 11/9/16 update: Sadly, actual events played out somewhat differently.]

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