Tonight, I’ll go to bed feeling lonelier than usual. There’s an undercurrent of sadness in my thoughts; a torrid nausea of regret, slight desperation and shame. My tube journey home will be soundtracked by the blues, it will be slower than usual; I will be pensive as I run over our last moments together. Could I have changed anything? What did I do wrong? What happened to us? Why did it have to end?
I miss Barack Obama.
It’s less than 24 hours since he said goodbye, but already, it feels like the rawest of break-ups. Of course, we're thousands of miles apart – and I didn't ever have the privilege of calling him my president. But we felt his presence in the UK, and we'll feel his absence, too. His parting gift – a lyrical and emotional and politically pertinent speech – was perfect. Last night, Obama’s words mirrored the Presidency he conducted since being elected in 2008: refined, insightful, reflective, caring, liberating and – importantly – full of hope. Hope that there is good left in the world, despite the future we’re now facing in his absence. And hope that, somehow, sheer force of good can overcome the rising hatred. "Hearts must change," he said, and we listened intently.
He spoke eloquently, with the elegance that we’ve come to know of him, and inspired us for the last time as President. He roused in us the will to continue in the fight for democracy when he told us to be “vigilant, but not afraid”. He urged us not to take democracy for granted, and not to rest. And, as he tearfully addressed Michelle – his “best friend”, who took on a role she “didn’t ask for” and did it with “grace and grit – he reminded the world of how great and powerful love can be.
He spoke to and protected all people, not just the privileged few, and created unity where others divide