OOC: Part two of the previous post, with one last part to follow. This is more of an interlude between the invitations for the Christmas services and the midnight Mass itself. While this is sort of a weird post for RP, if you want to jump in, feel free to comment.
The small disc spins through the air so fast it looks like a solid gold ball. The foil-wrapped chocolate coin lands in his palm and he transfers it back to his thumb to toss again. He doesn’t pause – he doesn’t even glance at the Presidential seal stamped into the foil – he just keeps it going.
It’s just after midnight. He should be getting back to the Residence. There had been a Cabinet meeting that morning, a speech in the afternoon, and a quick dinner meeting with the Administrator of the EPA (who’d requested an opportunity to speak with him after the Cabinet meeting and dinner was the only time the President had left available in his schedule). There are a stack of briefing books on his desk that he’s spent the past few hours perusing. He’s requested a 6AM wake up call, with two public appearances and the White House tree-lighting ceremony tomorrow, besides half a dozen minor meetings.
He should be taking the next few hours of quiet to rest, but he’s still in the Oval Office, coin-flipping and lost in thought.
Flip. Catch. Flip. Catch.
Something in the repetition grounds him; with the coin going in a mindless pattern he can let his tired mind wander at will. He’s standing by the glass door of the portico, staring out into the darkness and watching the coin. Looking at both and focusing on neither, the President’s contemplation has him in several places at once.
Some of his thoughts are almost a thousand miles away, with the people of Davenport, Iowa, as several families prepare for a sad holiday season. And the words of his remarks – the remarks Kate wrote for him – are still turning in his mind: For we can lift one another from the depths of despair. We can be the light where others dare not go.
Can we? he wonders, not for the first time.
Flip. Catch. Flip. Catch.
The idea of light is inextricably linked in his head with the idea of hope, and somehow that connects back into faith. There are maybe half a dozen reasons why he wants to attend a Christmas service this year; this is only one of them. As for it being at midnight, well… even he’s not completely sure why the idea appeals to him so much. Perhaps because he’s been up past midnight for quite a while now, he’s used to it. Perhaps he just feels he can tackle the question of light better at a time of darkness.
The words take on a refrain in his head, not unlike the old hymns of his childhood. We can be the light where others dare not go. And from there, his thoughts splinter, a stream-of-consciousness of things not noticeably connected: Davenport and the research he’d discussed with Billy. Kate’s father in the hospital. A year in the White House. The Nicene Creed and we can be the light where others dare not go. Evelyn’s eyes, her hands picking nervously at a loose thread. The grey kitten. The couches and coffee that keep his Senior Staff and their assistants moving. His still-broken record player. His meeting with the EPA Admin. Senator Ross and the proposed bill. A midnight mass, the choice between two cathedrals.
And we can be the light.
The President only knows it’s time to call it a night when he fumbles, when his hand closes on empty air and the chocolate coin slides over his knuckles to bounce gently on the carpet. He blinks, half-surprised, his thoughts marshalling themselves back into reluctant order, his midnight musings called to a halt. Yes, definitely time to call it a night.
He’s not making any sense, anyway, not even to himself.