Noga Sklar

A grain of salt

I was about to enter the shower when Alan’s face showed up through the half-opened door: “President Trump is going to speak shortly.”

“Is he?”

“No. I’m just practicing it,” said Alan, chuckling, a radiant smile on his face.

Alan prides himself on having been the very first to consider Donald Trump for president of the United States. And he is quite right. In a time when not even the candidate had officially launched his candidacy, if I can truly remember a world in which Trump was not campaigning all over the place, Alan was already on it. He also prides himself on being the one who “invented” the concept that “a president is someone you hire to govern the country,” and, lo and behold, he would sure as hell hire Donald Trump for the job.

I doubted him, as it is the norm here at home.

I must confess, I started with Jeb. But, at some point, it was abundantly clear that the younger Bush candidacy was not going anywhere, therefore I considered a change. Being a freshman in the “Republican ecosystem,” I was still kind of “crawling,” and didn’t know exactly where to go or whom to turn to, after a lifetime of devoted progressivism and preaching according to Obama’s creed.

Yes, that’s right. I was a fervent Obamist back in 2008, and this option not only resulted in a book that will never be translated to English — thank God, lol — but it almost put an end to my then recent marriage as well.

We were in Hawaii to visit our son when Obama was first elected. In the van that took us from the airport to the hotel, there were another two couples. One of them came from Washington DC and had cast an early vote. To Obama, of course. The other one, if I’m not mistaken, was retired and living in Oregon, in a place where “most people go for their vacation.” The man proceeded to affirm that, if Obama was elected, the U.S. (economy, I think he meant, but I cannot be sure) would lose at least 10 years, to which Alan enthusiastically agreed.

There has not been one single day since, in which Alan had not reminded me of that conversation in the van. We were sitting in a bar in Oahu when Obama was declared the winner. We cheered. That is, I cheered. And the rest of the bar, of course. Alan, in all fairness, had tried his best a few hours before in our hotel room, but ultimately failed to convince himself: “Well, hmm… he seems to be a good man.”

To be honest, it took me a mere few weeks living in the United States to turn myself into a Republican. I had heard once before — with a fair degree of shock, I must admit — that “the true American is a Republican,” told by a Brazilian cousin of mine who had been living here since the 1980s. I refused to believe him, of course. The Democrats were the best in this world, and would always be.

Let’s advance the calendar, and now we find ourselves on that awesome Tuesday, in which our high expectations of failure… were never fulfilled. I was awake at two in the morning, shortly after the “tide” has changed, and surrendered to sleep just half an hour before the State of Pennsylvania gave Trump the electoral college votes he needed to be elected “President of the United States.” (Don’t mind me, I’m just practicing as well.)

My reasons for voting Trump had been extensively described by the whining media this week, in a last-ditch attempt to keep their wild “narrative” alive. The so-called narrative has already begun its demise, but let me seize this last opportunity to “put my thoughts in someone else’s words” for a change, because I’m too tired to repeat it in my own words once again: “Enough of elites; enough of experts; enough of the status quo; enough of the politically correct; enough of the liberal intelligentsia and cultural overlords with their predominant place in the media; enough of the financial wizards who brought the 2008 meltdown and stagnant incomes and jobs disappearing offshore. That, in essence, was Trump’s message,” wrote Roger Cohen, in his otherwise mistaken article published in the New York Times, just as completely wrong as his previous “certainties” against Donald Trump. Frankly, it feels deeply disgusting to realize all that the extensive manipulation of the American psyche has accomplished throughout these last eight years, something I had already described in previous chronicles.

On Thursday, Alan and I were in a warehouse looking for flooring options when he asked the manager: “How do you feel about the result of the elections?”

She remained silent for a couple of minutes. Then she seemed to measure us carefully from head to toe, before beginning to, quite hesitantly, utter a response:

“Well… Hmm… I’m very happy.”

I started to laugh, and then she explained that she was afraid of expressing her opinion. How pathetic was that, in a country that is proud to practice freedom of expression in all its instances and ramifications?

That’s correct. Notwithstanding the fact that only the preservation of the Second Amendment has been used as a talking point in the past elections (wow, I’m so glad this had also passed!), it was in fact the First Amendment that has been under attack, although most people failed to realize that. And this was, to say the least, one of my utmost concerns, the one that motivated me to finally choose Donald Trump — “following my husband’s lead.”

Lol. Yes, I wrote that last line not only to please Alan a bit, as he deserves to be pampered occasionally, but also to give ammunition to those poor people who are crying in the streets, those poor spoiled Millennials, who were extensively trained not to cope with life’s hardships, whatever they might be.

I pity them. They are so unprepared, and thus so conditioned to fail up ahead. But enough of looking back to the past, or we risk being transformed into statues of salt. Because, my friends, let’s face it, it’s a Sodom and Gomorrah of sorts that we are about to leave behind, if we speak frankly about it.

Yes, I exaggerate, as is my usual style. But you know what I mean, I guess, and not in the “moralistic sense,” but in the real-life, in the practical results of what-has-been-done sense. Hopefully, the future that begins today will bring the positive amends we are waiting for; and we will work in this direction, trying our best to make it happen, no doubt.

So, we were driving up the mountain on early Wednesday morning, after a practically sleepless night, when Alan turned to me and said:

“We did it, Noga.”


“Don’t ever underestimate yourself. You had spoken about it. You had written about it. And you had your say. Do you know the ‘precipitation principle’? The one according to which you pour growing quantities of salt into water, and they keep dissolving, until one last grain makes the salt deposit itself all at once at the bottom of the glass?”

“I do.”

“You are that grain of salt.”

So this is where I leave you, my friends. This is the last chapter of this book, the last chapter of a book that seemed for quite a while to be destined to the garbage bin, as it had rooted for Donald Trump most of the time; the last chapter, I hope, of a book that felt so distressing so many times, many times sure that the values it was defending were about to be engulfed by a much more powerful narrative; better, by the practice of narratives that we so deeply loathed, but seemed to be impotent to fight against. But it wasn’t. We weren’t. Our voice had been heard. Our voice had also joined millions of other voices we didn’t even know were out there, waiting.

There is no better occasion to repeat a widely worn-out cliché, and for that I do apologize: This is the first day of the rest of our lives.


About the Author
Noga Sklar was born in Tiberias, Israel, in 1952. She grew up in Belo Horizonte and lived for 30 years in Rio de Janeiro, a city she left behind to take refuge in a paradise among the mountains of Petropolis. Noga met her American husband Alan Sklar in 2004, through the American Jewish dating site JDate. This meeting gave new impetus to her life and literary career, inspiring her first novel, “No degrees of separation” (to be published in English in 2016. She now lives in Greenville, SC, US, where she moved with her husband in October 2014.
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