May 4, 1912
More than two-thirds of the vote for the congressional race has been counted, but here we are, several days after the election, and still, the final vote count was unknown. What adds to the delay is the fact that a huge storm has come through the panhandle, and so telegraph wires are down, and there are reports of road washouts, especially in Washington, Wakulla, and Liberty counties, so not even a courier can get through with any kind of report of results. My friends are confident that I am going to be in the second primary. What we know about the results so far does give me satisfaction; Judge Flournoy is far behind Mays and myself for the moment.
My friends are already patting me on the back; they are excited and encouraging about my prospects. I want to feel their enthusiasm inside myself, too; but I am not going to relax until I am certain I have won the second primary. I want to have the final count verified after the second primary.
Jennie Kehoe asked me the other day how I was feeling about all of this politicking. “You’re always gone, obviously, when you’re campaigning, but when you’re home and supposed to be taking it easy, you’re working harder than ever,” she said. “I’m worried about you.”
I told her I was doing fine. But Jennie isn’t someone I can fool. She’s like my mother in a lot of ways: I never could fool her when I was feeling poorly, or sad. When Jennie talks to me, I can’t hide or lie, even though I do. She sees right through me. She doesn’t call me out on it; I think she thinks it would shame me. She doesn’t want to hurt me, either.
What she didn’t say was that she knew that I was drinking a lot more. If no one told her, she must have seen the increased bottles in the trash bin. Or maybe the empty bottles I’d hidden around the house. I’ve tried dealing with the stress on my own, but the relief doesn’t come fast as it does with a glass of whiskey. I tell myself that’s temporary, too. I’ll be able to cut back once all this extraneous stress is out of the way. Once I’ve won for sure. If I win.
That’s what I told Jennie, anyway. She only smiled at me, patted my arm, and left the room, so I could continue to write.
When she left, the will and desire to write, to think, left with her. Damn it.
I close my eyes. I try to will the stress out of my head; the vote count will come, soon enough. I tell myself that I’ve got this, my friends tell me I’ve got this. The numbers are telling me that too.
I hear Jennie go out the back door of the house. I’m alone again.
I know what to do to take the edge off. I know where another bottle is hidden in this house. I just need a little bit to calm my mind, so I can get back to work.
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