I stopped on the corner to talk to our neighbor because he is the only other Denver Broncos fan I know within miles of my home in Oakland.
“What happened to our team?” he asked.
“I dunno,” I said shrugging my shoulders, “I guess we weren’t ready to play.”
As Oakland residents and fans of the locally despised division rival, we felt the need to commiserate over a tough loss earlier in the week. We talked for a while about upcoming games and how we hoped that on New Year’s Eve the Broncos might find a way to even the score. Then there was a pause.
“How about that election?” He asked, a little more subdued. This came as quite the relief to me because I knew this was a topic on which we weren’t as simpatico. “I guess that didn’t work out quite the way you wanted it.”
I knew this was coming, because we had already met near this same corner a few months back when he had made it clear that his Republican bias was as unshaken as mine was Democrat. “No, it wasn’t what I had expected.” I tensed for the gloating.
It never came. We stood on that corner and talked about the future of our country. The one we shared. One of us said, “The next four years will be very interesting.” The other agreed. We conjectured about directions that appointments and legislation might go. I found it increasingly more and more comforting to see what points of our disparate views actually had in common. It gave me hope. This was significant, since it had been days since I had felt much of that.
I knew that there would be challenges and fears and frustrations moving ahead, but standing there on the corner I didn’t feel as lost or alone. This was my neighbor. This was my neighborhood. My home. When at last we parted, he stuck out his hand. I shook it and went on my way. I still had my own grief to process and my worries to sort out, but I was here to stay.