“Great view from down there, huh?”
“Yeah,” I replied. I was laying on the ground, taking photos of the party lights that shone on some trees.
Whoever said that walked away, and I took a few more photos. More than anything, I didn’t want to be here right now. Yet, I had to be. It was a scholarship required event. So here I was, laying on the ground, taking photos of lights on leaves.
I could hear the music and shouts of excitement coming from the crowd less than 20 feet to my right. I sighed.
I haven’t really felt much connection or want to connect with any of these people. The closest I had to a heartfelt moment was a really awful conversation that went like this:
“I really want to get into law, because I love politics,” he said.
“You love politics?” I asked.
“Yeah. They’re great.”
I sighed. “I mean, politics themselves aren’t great. By the standards of ‘politics,’ I have to debate my own existence with more people than I care to think about.”
“What do you mean you have to debate you’re existence?”
“Oh. So does this mean you want to be a girl, or were you a girl before?” He seemed earnestly interested enough, so I figured I’d tell them the truth
“Neither. I’m nonbinary.”
“I see. So do you have a, you know? Or the other thing?”
I groaned loudly. “Oh my god. This is exactly what I was talking about.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Let’s change the subject.”
He smiled. “So I’m registered to vote Democrat. They want to expand trans rights. That’s good, right?”
“Mm. I mean, it would be nice, if it would ever happen. But Democrats are so obsessed with trying to appeal to a middle ground that they keep ceding power to Republicans.”
He seemed to be listening to me. I was a bit hopeful I could change his mind.
“Okay. So are you saying Republicans and Democrats are the same?” He asked.
“More or less. If they weren’t so similar, blue states would be drastically different from red ones. But do you ever really notice a difference between California and Oregon to the north?”
“Okay Republicans and Democrats are not the same. Have you seen the things Trump says? He’s so different from Democrats!” He sounded upset.
“Sure they are. Whatever. I’ve gotta go to the restroom.”
“Okay, man, see you later,” he said.
I winced. Man. I’m not a man. I had explained that.
The party seemed to have gotten larger while I was lost in thought. They were only fifteen feet away now. The cheers had certainly gotten louder.
I got up and walked away. It was dark enough that they wouldn’t notice.
So, I wandered. Not enough to get lost, but enough to be away. That was all I really wanted, so I was going to take it.
I walked away, to a small clearing with just a couple of trees. I sat down next to one and simply stared away.
In my pleasant fantasies, someone would approach me to have a conversation. But, seeing as how this wasn’t a fantasy, I couldn’t have that. To be fair, I looked like I wanted to be alone in the first place.
Lights and voices started to approach. They were people, likely trying to go to the bathroom. I sat in place, making no motion or sound. They walked past, oblivious to the fact that the only thing between them seeing me was a tree and my own low posture. I was hiding in plain sight.
I looked up, and hoped to see some stars. I didn’t. There was too much smoke in the sky from all the forest fires. In fact, earlier today, the sun was red from the smoke’s cover. Curling my head around the tree, so was the moon.
“I shouldn’t be breathing comfortably right now. This is really bad.”
I sighed. There was so little I could do to change anything right now. I couldn’t leave, I didn’t want to dance, the music was too close to the tents for me to sleep, I couldn’t stop the forest fires from happening, and I can’t vote my way into change.
The only thing I really could do was sit in silence, and continue to think about things.