The Five Stages Of Grief, Minus One Stage

 Ding. I glanced at my phone in anticipation while setting down the marker I’d been holding. One new mail notification greeted my already delighted face as I quickly unlocked my phone. “President Trump is counting on his loyal supporters to go out and vote! We must Make America Great Again!” The large red font screamed confidence and triumph, as if President Trump had already won the grueling 2020 election. 

   Feeling tears of pride well up in my eyes, I huffed a breath of determination, and picked up my marker once again. A half finished poster was laid gently on my bedroom floor, which was the same exact place where I’d planted myself for the past two hours. 

   After all, today was certainly not a day for laziness. Three days had passed since election day, and tonight was when the final count of the votes would be revealed. 

   The bold letters of “Make America Great Again” donned the upper half of the poster, and a half finished American flag sat at the bottom. Only the blue background of the flag was left to shade in, and I reluctantly picked up the blue marker.           

   “What an ugly color.” I muttered to myself. Laughter erupted from the entrance of my door as I lifted my head to shoot a glare at my brother. 

   “You’re really holding a grudge against a color?” He snickered while looking incredulously at the sprawl of art supplies across the floor. 

   Holding back simmering annoyance, I slowly rose to meet the mischievous gaze of my brother, Dylan Smith. My younger brother, mind you. 

   “I just think that a country of our grandiose caliber should only be blessed with the colors of white and red.” I retorted, “Only dirty donkeys retain that disgusting shade of blue.” 

   He raised an eyebrow. “By donkeys, I assume you mean democrats?” 

   I scoffed, and waved my hand. “Same difference.” 

   “Well then, congratulations Sofia! You just lost to those dirty donkeys of yours.” 

   I swore I could hear that desolate breeze blow by like in the Loony Toons episodes I used to watch. The results are way too early though. Weren’t they supposed to come out tonight? I thought.  

   “No.”

   “What?”

   “No.” I shrugged. “Simply not possible.” 

   “Look for yourself.” Dylan sighed, and handed me his phone. Rolling my eyes, I scrolled through the news app and clicked the election results. 

   “What are you talking about? There are way more red states shown on this map than blue states.” I asked, confused as I looked up to Dylan’s incredulous expression. “What?” 

   “You’re even more brainwashed than I thought.” He shook his head and pointed at the lower half of the screen. “Read the words, not the map.” 

   Brushing his hand away, I scrolled down to see ten, large words staring back at me. Words that I never fathomed I would ever come to see. Words that caused me to freeze at the thought of how futile my efforts were to stop this exact result from happening. 

   Joe Biden Concludes The Presidential Race With 264 Electoral Votes.

   “It can’t be.” I whispered. “I just checked the news an hour ago.” My eyes then found their way to the upper left corner, where the infamous CNN logo was stamped. I finally let out a chuckle after a period of silence. 

   “You really expect me to trust an article from CNN?” I scoffed, turning to face him. 

   He peered over my hand at the screen, and let out an exasperated breath. “The one I showed you just happened to be from CNN. And what does it matter? It’s accurate since all of the other news websites are showing the same thing.” 

   I narrowed my eyes, thinking how annoying and pure it is to have such a naive little brother. 

   “Alright first things first.” I sighed, “If CNN reports anything, there’s a 99.5% chance that it will be completely false. 

   “And let’s say it’s true that Biden received all 264 electoral votes.” I continued, “Him and that foul party of his must’ve surely used the mail in ballots to their advantage.” 

   “Of course you would’ve brought up cheating.” Dylan muttered, brushing by to plop himself on my bed. 

   “It’s definitely cheating.” I affirmed. “With all of our votes, there’s no reason we could  possibly lose.” All of a sudden, the sight of the red marker on the floor jolted me from my thoughts. 

   “That’s right, I need to finish my poster!” I sucked in a breath as my eyes snapped toward the clock. The bright, red numbers spelled out 4:15, just 15 minutes before President Trump’s rally nearby.

   “You’re still going?” Dylan asked, momentarily looking away from his phone. “What’s the point? Trump already lost.” 

   Pausing from my furious shading, I glanced up and replied, “Support, Dylan. I have to go to provide him support. Who knows what effect these lies have had on our president? And we didn’t lose.” 

   “Suit yourself.” He sighed. “Mom’s never going to let you go anyway.” 

   I let out a sigh, and looked up once again. “She already gave me her permission a week ago.” 

   He blinked, “That was only if Trump won. Isn’t it obvious?”

   Before I knew it, I was marching down the stairs blinded by my own fury. Slamming open the kitchen door, I faced the woman blocking me from my duty to America. 

   “You’re really not letting me ago?” I asked, quietly seething in anger as my mother placed down the celery stick she’d been holding. 

  “Well, honey. You know I support this… movement of yours.” She paused. “But there’s really no point in going now. Biden won, so what more is there for Trump to say?” 

   “Plus her obsession with him makes it seem like she’s going to a cult meeting!” Dylan’s voice echoed from upstairs. 

   Normally, that riveting shade of red would calm me down no matter the situation. But now, a crimson haze swept over my vision, leaving only rage to manifest throughout the room. 

   “Who said we lost?” I screamed. “It’s those mail-in ballots. That’s the only explanation.” 

   I shivered in disgust. “They must’ve taken out our ballots simply because we voted for President Trump.” 

   Vaguely hearing Dylan’s heavy footsteps, I whipped around to face him. “Do not call my president a cult leader.” I hissed at him. 

   He tilted his head away from my line of vision, and remarked “Aren’t you glad you have at least one sane child?” 

   “Fine.” I breathed out, as my mother rolled her eyes behind me. “This country is going to turn into a wasteland in a few months anyway.” 

   “I’m moving to Canada.” I declared, huffing in annoyance. Looking at their shocked eyes only made me smirk more in amusement. “Unless the people in this country become more intelligent and choose the right leader, you can be sure that I’m not coming back.” 

   “I hope she realizes that Canadians hate Trump supporters.” Dylan whispered to our mother. 

   “Don’t be ridiculous.” I snapped. “We’re all of the same color there. Do you know how much snow Canada gets? They couldn’t possibly hate us.” 

   “Snow.” My mother echoed quietly, eyeing my brother worriedly. 

   “I’m not coming back.” I repeated, crossing my arms.

   “They have free healthcare.” Dylan said bluntly. 

   “What?” I stared blankly at him.

   “Abortion’s legal there too.” He continued. “Plus, how are you going to keep tabs on your god if you’re not even in the same country as him?” 

   I breathed in a shuddering breath. It’s even worse over there than it is here. I thought with horror. Feeling hot tears trickling down my cheeks, I darted up the stairs and slammed my bedroom door closed. A sob rose up in my throat, and soon, my cries of grief were heard even through the soundproof walls. 

   “She just went through the five stages of grief in under an hour.” Dylan laughed. “Well, actually only four.” 

   “I’m afraid that last stage will never come.” Our mother sighed, picking up her celery stick once again. 

   “You’re right.” Dylan shivered. “Just wait until the 2024 election.”