Part 2 -- Oma

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It's been a year since the presidential election, and I've lost my mind.  No, scratch that. I've finally woken up.

Perhaps this is why I'm day drinking at Jenn's party. Being awake is uncomfortable, itchy, like I can't ever quite stop thinking.

Even now, in Jenn's perfect backyard, I want to say for our silly game, "I never voted for Trump," and see who among us is my friend, and who has secretly been my enemy all along.

The idea makes me tear up unexpectedly. You should really quit drinking, O. I take another sip.

When I press the Visine into Aimee's palm, something inside me comes alive.

I read 44% of white women voted for that race baiting, 'grab 'em by the pussy,' Putin ass-clown. Women like me, who've probably gotten grabbed a time or two. I saw them on television, at the rallies – my age and older, frequently brassy blonde, willing to vote the sanctity of their bodies of less importance than whatever else they saw in him.

If you're wondering at my lack of surprise, let me introduce you to being a woman. When I was ten, I woke to find my uncle lifting the bed covers off my legs, cool air swirling up to my waist. He stood, in the darkened room, examining my bare limbs.  He'd uncovered my most embarrassing secret – I still wore My Little Pony underpants, even though they were a baby thing to like, but my favorite.

"What are you doing?" I'd asked. He tossed the blankets down, and walked out of the room with no reply.

I told my mother. "I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it, Oma." When I tried to explain how it meant something to me, her face went tight. "Hush. You could ruin a man's life with stories like that."

So like most women, I've understood from childhood: What my uncle did meant nothing, and at the same time, I somehow held the power to ruin his life by mentioning it.

I swallowed this illogic whole, unable to look at it and take it apart until this year. I wanted to believe my mother's promise that women had power of their own -- a nuclear option to destroy everything, if they needed to. It might kill us too, but we had a way to take the bastards down.

Trump's election proved even that promise hollow.

I tried to explain how out of control I felt to my husband, Scott. At first, he nodded quietly, listening to each unfolding outrage. But as time went on and my anger didn't diminish, he grew frustrated. "Oma, it's only four years. Just wait it out."

A chasm opened between us, uncrossable. Nothing in his white male experience approached what it might be like to have his pussy grabbed, to feel vulnerable in a sea of men with a presidential role model of assault.

After dozens of reiterations, the closest I could get: "What if the president bragged about reaching down the back of men's pants and sliding a surprise finger up their butthole? What if your uncle had done that to you? What if anyone might, since it's been endorsed at the highest governmental level?"

Which ended the conversation, my husband snapping, "That would never happen, and that's not what happened, Oma."

For the next few days, my husband of 18 years treated me like some untrustworthy creature that might attack at any moment.

***

When Dan stands near the sliding glass door and practically snaps his fingers at Jenn, I feel untrustworthy, my teeth gnashing to bite, given the chance.

"How is it a present for me if I pay for it?" Dan asks her.

I cannot stop myself entirely, but manage to put the wine glass over my face to muffle the words at least. "What... a.... dick."

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