Election Day

As I walked towards the building, I noticed my fatigue. Sleep had been elusive and sporadic last night because of nightmares. In one, I voted naked. In another, my ballot was tossed because it wasn’t filled out right. Still another voting dream had everyone watching me and yelling I was doing it wrong. Worries of the virus peppered others. Everyone in line was sick and I caught it in one dream. In the other – my test results were false negatives and I made everyone sick.

The line snaked from the front of the building, down the side, and into the parking lot between cars. Most people were quietly looking at their phones. After getting in line, I started to do the same, but remembered how much that would stress me out. I put my AirPods in, only handling my phone long enough to select some music before shoving it back into my pocket.

The line moved at a decent pace, but I still stood for over an hour and a half before reaching the door to the building. A few minutes later, I stood in front of a plexiglass partition with a small rectangular hole. I presented the utility bills and my license to register. A woman slid my bills, license, and a ballot out to me.

At the end of the table, an elderly masked man sat with two cups of pens. He pulled a pen from one cup, wiped it with a sanitizing wipe, and dropped it into the other. The cup receiving the sanitized pens had a note to use only the pens provided to fill in the ballot.

After retrieving a pen, I looked around. Booths dotted the room with two-thirds of those being occupied. I choose one far from the line and set to work darkening the circles. I had studied for weeks, but there were two judges’ names I wasn’t familiar with. I resisted the temptation to pull out my phone to do a search and picked one.

I placed my ballot in the envelop and exited. A woman in a pink cloth mask holding a spray bottle and a towel walked towards the booth I had left. Another man stood by a secure box close to the door and watched as I deposit the ballot into the slot. He held out an ‘I voted’ sticker and said, “Have a good day”.

The one-way path forced me to go out a door at the opposite end of the lobby. Outside the breeze cooled my forehead and the sun peeked through the broken clouds. With no one around, I pulled my mask off and shoved it into my pocket. The breeze cooled my cheeks and I took a deep breath. I’ve voted. Now, I wait.

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