Wednesday morning at 4 am was an odd time for me. I rolled over on my side and immediately crushed an empty family-sized bag of sour cream and onion chips, startling myself awake. I glanced to the paper bracelet wrapped snugly around the wrist of my right hand and smiled warmly. I traced the bold letters “I VOTED” tenderly as I remembered that the day before, I had just done the most adult thing anyone could do: I took part in choosing the next president of the United States.
Still dazed from my so-called “alarm”, I decided to check my phone for the time - only to find that the light emitting from it was incredibly bright and headache inducing. I frantically swiped the brightness level to the left, making the pain in my eyes subside (slightly). When my vision finally focused, it was instantly blurred with tears from what I’d read. I unlocked my phone, ignoring what seemed like hundreds of texts and dozens of missed calls from dear friends and family only to find a horizontal bar split in half in 2 colors (red and blue) on Google’s home page. Well, it would’ve been split in half if the red portion hadn’t slightly overwhelmed the blue. At that moment, I knew things would start to drastically change.
I looked through dozens of notifications; texts from my friends asking me how I was feeling and direct messages asking the same. In between reading my best friend’s message to me and a PSA from an artist I looked up to, I finally broke down and cried. Now, I’m a loud crier by nature, and I didn’t want to wake my roommate up, so I grabbed my phone and tumbled down the ladder of my loft and stumbled out the door in hopes of finding a quiet place to be alone. Moments later, I got a text from a friend in my dorm, saying that she was in the stairwell on her floor that was a few flights down from my own. I gathered my thoughts and solemnly shuffled down the stairs; tired and full of regret. The moment I saw her, I started to cry again. We both went and voted against the rest of America not even 24 hours before, and there we were, sitting in a stairwell feeling helpless and defeated.