We climbed. The path was steep and right away my heart rate rose. For ten minutes we plodded uphill along a trail through naked trees. Wind came straight at us throwing an angry crowd of leathery leaves in our faces. I couldn’t look up so I watched my feet and my pink Adidas pick out safe places to tread between loose twigs and scree and rocks.
My legs felt removed from my head and I watched them work their way along the path, wondering how they could function so well without me. Branches rattled in the wind, more leaves tackled each other in a mass disordered scrimmage. A small stream fumbled over boulders, falling over itself to tumble into Meech Lake below, sloshing like a disinhibited drunk stumbling out of a tavern, slurring invitations to passing women.
I watched my sure-footed husband walk steadily ahead, his back straight, arms swinging, balancing as he strode, eyes up, looking for the shape of the trail through the trees, certain it would be there. We hiked silently for another 30 minutes heading to a look-out point in the Gatineau Hills. Below us hedges and tall treed windbreaks and fences and roads divided farms and imposed order over the land. In the distance the Ottawa River cut the space between land and sky, the sky the bigger piece. I let my eyes travel to the clouds trying to find a place to settle as though the clouds were a mattress and, if only I could stretch out, maybe my mind would rejoin my body.
My body and mind separated on Wednesday, November 9 because my head is filled with rage and my body isn’t dealing with it. A sexual predator will soon be the President of the United States of America and every time I see his face I also see millions of people standing behind him saying “Yes.”
Yes, they said, it’s okay to paw women without consent. Yes, they said, it’s okay to shove tongues down any woman, girl, or child’s throat. Yes, they said, it’s okay to grab them by the genitals and harass, and rape and assault.
Worse, I feel those hands crawling on my skin, on my daughters’ skin, leering at me as they have done at work patting my ass, blocking my walk to my desk, making lewd comments about my breasts, my clothes. “Oh c’mon. It’s just a little harmless fun.”
All around me as we hiked I heard shushing leaves, shushing water, shushing trees agreeing. Yes. Go ahead. Do it. No one will say anything. Shush. Hush. Sssh.