WordPlay #7: “Never Giving Up”

Back to my normal schedule. Hope you all had a wonderful #FeliciaAppreciationDay! (if you missed it, it’s never too late to show her some love) On here, I continue with re-posting old WordPlays – and this time, I even gave it a new title! *shock* So, Nika had challenged us to write the beginning and the end of a story on the prompts “fragile desire” and “someone had to clean this up”. My original response was titled “American Dream”, but as was pointed out to me by a reviewer, the title doesn’t really reflect the content. So I changed it (and rewrote parts of the end). Hope you enjoy it. Feedback always welcome!

Never Giving Up

This is the story of Kyle Anderson. When I first met him, he was still an unknown senator from New Jersey, doing his job well, but being ignored by the media and the people. He was a charming man, but what fascinated me most was his determination, his absolute wish to one day become president of the United States.

“It’s not about the power,” he explained to me, “it’s about the opportunities a president has: the opportunity to do something for this country, the opportunity to stay in people’s memory for more than just a few seconds.”

After this conversation, I lost track of Anderson for a few years. During that time, he moved on: from unknown senator to presidential candidate. When we met again, I was still fascinated by him. All those years didn’t seem to have changed him. He was still handsome, still smart and still determined to become president.

Everything seemed to go well: Anderson was a fresh face, he was young and he had a lot of great ideas. People loved him – even those who had voted for the other party at the last election.

“I don’t take any of this for granted,” Anderson once confessed to me, “I know the tide can turn tomorrow.”

Right he was. It started with a former girlfriend of his who went to the papers and told them unflattering stories about their relationship. Then his former college buddy wrote a book revealing their drug experiences. Not even a month later, Anderson’s eldest daughter suddenly went into rehab. And the scandals kept flooding in.

In Washington D.C., there’s a saying: if you need someone to clean up your mess, you call Jay Parker. And Anderson did just that, to save his campaign and his dream.

***

Election night. Four years of shaking hands, sore throats and smiling for the cameras, all for this one moment. Our editorial department spent the night in front of the TV and I had to think of Anderson.

For most of my colleagues, he was the perfect candidate. Never mind the cheating, the drugs or the hit-and-run. Only makes him more human. “Sometimes I think that if you wanna get elected in this country, you have to be involved in some scandals,” my editor joked.

I was inclined to agree, for Anderson’s sake. I liked the guy, and I wanted to forget what I had witnessed that night between him and Parker. I mean, Parker had done his job, had cleaned up – but at what cost?

And it didn’t get Anderson elected. He lost, by a narrow margin, to Mira Shaw. As so often in the past four years, I once again felt that disillusionment with politics. I knew that it wasn’t just a rumor that it had been her team who had dug up Anderson’s scandals, seeded them to the media and watched the public pick the fruits. But who would believe me, now that I had my own scandals to take care of?

As Anderson stood in front of the crowd, trying to smile when deep inside he was heartbroken, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

“I may have lost this election, but that doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on America.”

Was that a tear in his eyes?

“Sometimes our desires are not fulfilled, but we cannot give up in those moments. We have to keep on fighting for what we believe in.”

The crowd cheered, maybe because it was cold, maybe because they still believed in him, maybe because there was nothing else they could do.

I am just like them. For at least four years, there is nothing I can do for Kyle Anderson, and who knows whether I will be able to do something for him when the next race dawns. Now that it’s down to the pundits to analyze the election, I hope that this story will enlighten the American public, that they will read it without prejudice and with disregard to the person who wrote it. I haven’t written this to clear my own record. I have written this because I, just like you, believe in Kyle Anderson’s dream.

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