They were no comfort to each other. For days Sam woke in the early morning, ready to begin her normal routine, and then she remembered what had happened and felt the world shrink into a new, weird shape. It was very close to how she’d felt right after her father died and she would have some kind of sleep-propelled respite from her grief. What she realized — as the weeks went by and it sank in, until finally she woke knowing what the world was — what she realized was that the world had moved against her more than it had moved against Matt. To him it was the equivalent of watching his beloved Mets lose a closely contested World Series. To her it was much more than that; what exactly it was, she did not yet know.
On Facebook, shortly after the venting and the disbelief, she discovered that an online but also in-real-life protest group was forming. A Facebook algorithm suggested it to her, and she read the group’s page:
Don’t give up. Don’t just vent on Facebook! Take action IRL. Resist! Refuse! Organize! (Henceforth referred to as RRO!) Women Won’t Wilt! (Henceforth referred to as WWW!)
Then she discovered the Syracuse offshoot of the national effort. One of the people she knew from her daughter’s school posted about the local event. The description:
Come talk strategy with other like -minded community members. We will begin with writing letters to our congressional representatives. We will not take this lying down. We will resist . Wine and light refreshments will be served.
The event took place in a beautifully restored stone farmhouse in one of the wooded and wealthy enclaves between Syracuse and Ithaca. The host was a Cornell professor. Her husband taught at Syracuse University, so they lived among farmers in this commutable-to-both area. The professors’ house stood on a hill with panoramic views in two directions. A large matching barn stood to one side, and Sam could see a wide, rocky stream behind the house at the bottom of the hill. She stood on the porch and listened for a moment. A sign was taped to the door: WWW GATHERING. No need to knock. Come right in.
The large living room was filled with women, mostly her age. Already the mid-range New Zealand sauvignon blanc was being passed around, which she had to admit she appreciated (finally chardonnay and pinot grigio had become cliché and déclassé even in Syracuse). Crudités, cheese, and crackers as promised. The vibe was bright and cheerful as the women buzzed around, chatting and commiserating, each reporting her blow-by-blow election night story with the same boring annotated specificity with which women report their labor narratives after giving birth (“I sat on the sectional, incessantly switching between MSNBC and CNN, like that would make the news change. I finally went to bed at eleven after they called Florida. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania were still too close to call, but I knew by then it was a disaster and I couldn’t stand to watch anymore. When I woke up in the morning, my daughter came in and said, ‘I am so sorry, Mommy.’ It was then I burst into tears. We were supposed to have a woman president. I practically promised her. But she comforted me, can you imagine?”).