RATING: G
NOTES: New series. See Part One.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the West Wing or any of its related
characters. Don't sue.
SUMMARY: Different people of the West Wing reflect on their lives so
far.

I work long days. This is what people tell me. I come to
work, assist the President, and then come home to my little sister.
That's if I'm lucky. Deena says I work long days, that I rarely seem
to come home any more. She says that it's okay, she can take care of
herself, but that she misses me. I miss her too. I think she's just
worried about me. We take care of each other like that. We have to.
The President is quiet today. I think he's in one of those
moods where he starts thinking about everything. He gets quiet in
that mood until you ask him a question, pretty much any question, and
then he gets excited and energetic while answering it. He fluctuates
a lot like that.
When I look at myself in the mirror, I try to find some
definition for what I see. Some days, I can and some I can't. It
seems I never use the same words more than once. Personal Aide to the
President. Zoey's boyfriend. Deena's big brother. Orphan. The man
they tried to shoot and kill...
It's scary in more ways than one. It's scary that someone
would kill me. Because I'm dating the President's daughter, because
I'm black, or is it both? It's both, I know. A year ago, I could
never have known. I would have never realized what the future held.
I work in the White House, directly for the President. Three
people were shot and more were injured because of me; because I work
in the White House directly for the President, I date his daughter
and I'm black. The more I think about it, the more I have to convince
myself that it's not my fault.
It's not my fault.
I'm trying to figure out how I got this far. I'm nearly twenty-
two years old and I work in the White house as the Personal Aide to
the President of the United States.
I can never get over that. Personal Aide to the President.
My father left a long time ago. He left before he could know
what the future held. My mother took care of us, and she was so
great. I miss her all the time, but I do my best not to think about
it. I'm happy with my life, you know? I miss my mom, but I have Deena
and I have Zoey and the staff here is like family.
Zoey. I love her. We've come so far together. I think the
shooting pushed us apart at first and then the aftermath brought us
closer together than ever before. She's the first person I have ever
met who I could honestly see myself spending the rest of my life
with. It's just too early in my life to make a move like that. When
Deena graduates, I'll go back to college and get my degree, and I'll
make something more of myself.
For now, I'm content with being Deena's big brother, Zoey's
boyfriend and Personal Aide to the President.
I've gotten used to long days. I've also gotten used to feeling
like I make a difference. I had never actually felt like I made a
difference until I got this job. I know I made a difference to my
family and I suppose I always will for Deena, but this job has made
me feel like I'm making a difference to the world. It reminds me of
something Josh told me once:
It never goes away.
Thinking of Josh makes me wonder about these people who are so
good to me. From the moment I got here, these people have treated me
as an equal, a friend, a member of their family. The President is so
kind and understanding with me. Leo, CJ, Sam, Toby, Mrs.
Landingham... They all treat me with a kind of respect I've never
known before. To them, I've got to be a kid who they send around to
run errands, and yet there's still that respect.
I forgot to mention Josh.
The man is like a brother to me. We always talk and trade
thoughts and ideas. He's the one got me hired. He's the one who
checks up on me, talks to me, encourages me... he's the one who
nearly died because of me.
Say it again, Charlie: It's not your fault.
So how did I get this far? I truly wish someone could give me an
answer to that question. I used to wonder if they only gave me this
job because they felt sorry for me, because of what happened to my
mother. That went away fast. Now I think that somewhere in the midst
of things, God decided to give me a bigger family and here I am.
I get paid to be part of a family.
Growing up, I wanted to be something important. I thought
maybe a doctor or a lawyer or an officer like my mother. The White
House never really entered my mind. When I got older, politics
interested me, but more as a hobby, and never as a career venue.
After working here, I can honestly say the politics is the way for me
to go.
Seeing Ken Cochran swallow his foot was one hell of an
encouragement. Those are one of the perks of politics, right?
I realize that there are down sides too. Being lied to,
pushed around... shot at...
But like Andrew told me, if they're shooting at you, it means
you're doing something right. I want to spend my life doing what's
right.
Even if that means being shot at... Again.
It feels like so much has happened in the past twenty years,
like my life should be half over by now. Sometimes it's hard to
believe that there's so much of my life left to live. Now that I have
some idea of what I want to do with it, I wonder if things will go
more smoothly.
I don't think so either.
When I was little, I never thought of giving my life a focus.
When I was halfway through high school, I thought I knew for sure how
the rest of my life would turn out. Then my mother was shot and
killed. Everything changed. No surprise there.
The President's complaining about his breakfast again. He's
saying some thing about horses, but I guess I'm not really compelled
to pay attention. It's gotten to the point where I sort of tune out
his food babble and inject an occasional "yes, sir" or "no, sir" when
he looks at me. I pay attention only enough to know when to say
the "yes, sir" or when to say the "no, sir" or finally, when he slows
down, "Sir, we have to get started." When I say that, I not only get
his complete attention, but he gets mine.
We have a system. It works.
Hopefully today will be another short day, like yesterday. I
actually got home yesterday. Deena and I watched some TV show where
there were this group of kids and they were all running from
something or trying to find something, or both. It felt like a soap
opera to me, but Deena assured me that there were distinct
differences. She says it's her favorite show. I'm still trying to
figure out why the main male character and the main female character,
who are obviously in love with each other "can't" be together. Deena
says that it's because the guy is some sort of alien.
So maybe that's what's wrong with Josh.
Anyway, TV isn't really my thing. Deena and I talked a little
during commercials and after the show was over. It was nice catching
up with her. I so rarely get to do that any more. I feel like her
life is passing me by. Maybe I can talk to the President about
finding a way to keep being able to get home before nine. Maybe once
a week or something.
Mondays, perhaps, so Deena and I can watch the aliens.
The day's getting started. Time for me to take the President's
mind off of breakfast. I can see the look on his face and I know what
it means. I've seen that look on every face at one time or another,
but I always see it on his when I tell him that the day has to start.
It's the face that says "please don't let me do anything wrong
today."
I've seen it on myself many times when I look into that mirror.
I saw it the morning of the day we went to Rosslyn.
The day is starting so I had better get going. The President
asks:
"What's next?"

*************

 

 

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