I’m not really sure how it all started. Joss and I were just sophomores in college, you know? We rarely sleep, and we eat crap that barely qualifies as food. (Prime example: microwavable Velveeta mac and cheese. Never again.) I trip over Joss’s shoes every day without fail, and she complains that I leave dirty mugs everywhere. When we’ve both had enough of school and work and our parents, we open the window of our dinky, little apartment, blast the music we’ve sung at countless sleepover karaoke nights, and dance along. I have anxiety so bad some days that I cannot get out of bed, and Joss is the highest functioning insomniac I’ve ever met. We are not people that were built to be superheroes.
We’re just kids. We were never meant to save the world. We just want to figure out how to live in it. We had a plan, the same plan we’d had since middle school: go to school in the city, live together, and figure the rest out later. I would get my probably useless degree in History, and Joss would conquer the world of computer science. We had a plan. The world, however, had another plan for us. Joss would say that is was never that poetic. She would say that people needed our help, and so we helped them. As simple as that. She is right in a way. Joss has always been good at getting to the point. But I have to think it was more than that because we were the only ones who become vigilantes. We were the only ones who did something.
Joss was right about one thing. There was no single triggering event that told us we had to do this. There was no dramatic murder or trial that signaled that our city needed saving. There was no Joker terrorizing the streets, threatening to blow up buildings. Which is probably a good thing because 1) we are NOT in any way qualified to handle that and 2) Joss has a serious thing for psychopaths. We’ll get to that later. Instead, things just started to change.
I’m not sure if the changes were the result of the election. Maybe this kind of hatred and violence had been brewing in our city all along, and we were just too blind to see it. Maybe we didn’t want to. Maybe the election just made a lot of bad things acceptable to the general public. After all, if the president could demean wide groups of people, wasn’t it okay for everyone to do so? Ban the Muslims. Build a wall. Grab that pussy. It was shocking for us to realize that we read out of Anne Frank’s diary in the eighth grade was wrong. All people were not good at heart. Some people were bad. Some people just wanted to hurt others, and some people would get away with it.
The city did not change overnight. Nothing really changes overnight, not even when you are afraid it will. But it did change. It changed slowly and systematically, and we felt powerless to do anything about out. No one seemed to be listening to us. No one seemed to care if our friends were hurt. No one was going to help people that the leader of our city did not even consider people. Our parents started to beg us to commute from home. The city was getting dangerous, after all, and wouldn’t we be more comfortable away from it all? We stayed, and my mom sent me two cans of pepper spray (one for Joss, too) and a Swiss Army knife. Joss laughed and told me I was lucky she hadn’t assigned us an older brother bodyguard.