Hello Mr. President

By , Williamsburg, VA
I walk straight forward and stick out my hand, which he shakes. He asks my name, which I wasn’t expecting, so I just say “Alice”. No last name, like I am a waitress or a stripper or Madonna.
He shakes other hands who are working for him as I stand beside I him in the carefully choreographed line, waiting for photographic evidence of the worth of hundreds and hundreds of hours & the sacrifice of my 18th summer & fight after fight with my parents & blowing off people who use to be my friends.
We all lean in and I assume our picture was taken but I don’t notice because he has put his arm around me and all I can think is that though his suit jacket feels like every 15 year old boy’s at homecoming and every father hugging his children once he finally gets home at eight on Monday night, the arm in that jacket can move mountains. It can build people up and tear them down; it has saved and ended lives; it carries the fate of the world in the very palm that is now resting on my fragile shoulder and touching the shirt that I threw all of my fresh laundry on the dirty dorm room carpet to reluctantly decide on in the last few seconds as my ride impatiently waited outside.
We break the pose.
He asks if I am in school and I know he is just being polite but I still can’t believe that he finds me interesting - that he can possibly have anything he wants to know about me when I want to know everything about him, though my mind and mouth can’t articulate a single question right now. I bumble out an answer as he smiles so wide that it takes up his whole face from his nose down, looking like a wine glass half-full. His smile is so real in person - or at least as real as it can be while I am second-guessing my own sanity about whether this is real.
He then turns to the other student.
I am star struck.
We are ushered out but I want to stay in this room of potential and keep this power and importance and hold it close forever so I can have it when I can utilize it the best, but the moment was fleeting and it’s now slipping and I may have said nothing profound but
I still can’t stop smiling as I step out into the warm breeze.





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