The Ole Gal Rides On
By: Mary Louise McEntire
She pieced through her greatest hits - an old Forward Europeia! button, a McEntire/Monkey "Last First Minister" bumper sticker, some old first drafts from her Mac Facts blog. Somewhere near the bottom of the box, she found a decrepit City Council voting slip from 2010 - her first proposal, the Party Absence Trial Act. She laughed remembering how she pitched banning all political parties for a term to see the affect on the political system. A bold and misguided move! The McEntire special.
She laughed audibly to no one in particular and rubbed at her eyes and temples, cracking up thinking of herself ranting and raving at her tender age at that time - and she laughed even harder when she realized how little things had changed. Tears started to flow, and she wasn't quite sure if she was laughing or crying anymore. She wiped her tears and gathered herself, she'd have plenty of time to reflect on the journey.
McEntire taped up the momentos box and placed it with the other boxes. It was strange to see her home all boxed up, but the movers were coming in just a couple hours to put it all in storage until she figured out her next destination and sent for her things. She knew moving on was the right move for her, but that doesn't mean it was easy to do. After all, it had been nearly 15 years.
But things had started to change. The last year in Europeia had felt... dark to her. The whole experience from the MadJack affair to her coming out as trans to her court case against Kazaman (which he lost and has still never apologized for) and Presidential run with upc had been really intense. And coming to the end of the last year and the beginning of this one, not winning anything at EuroChoice despite getting nominated in multiple categories, seeing the Weighted Voting Amendment pass the Senate, and now seeing JayDee re-elected, she was just feeling out of step with the rest of the community.
She looked out into the garden at her rosebushes and thought of her last campaign, Let Europeia Bloom. It was a ramshackle and foolhardy effort, and in some ways she thought it was a last cry for help. McEntire had always been a believer in telling the truth in the plainest and most vivid way possible, and on some level she had believed that if she could just tell the region what was wrong they'd course-correct, take her warnings seriously, and have some curiosity about the issues she was raising. Of course, that hadn't panned out. And now she felt more isolated than ever.
Somewhere in that stew of feelings, it had hit her: this was a game. A recreational activity. She had continued to toil and drive the discourse and make bold proposals to try and make the region better for players who came after her, but no one had a gun to her head forcing her to do that.
Europeia had become a stressor when it was supposed to be a release. But it wasn't because anyone was keeping her down intentionally - her values had changed over time, and now she was out of step. Europeia didn't prioritize or value what she did. She could lead a horse to water, so to speak, but couldn't make it drink.
Which speaking of, her horse Coffeepot was tied up outside, ready to go. One last thing to do. She pulled out her stationery and typed up a letter, to be sent in duplicate to Palatium Manor and the Senatia.
"To Whom it May Concern,
The time has come for me to move on. Please consider this my resignation from the Europeian Senate, from citizenship in Europeia, and from any other Ministries, Commissions, and other positions.
This region and I are simply going in different directions. I hope that my departure hastens some long-overdue conversations around respect for minority viewpoints and the difficulty of being a woman-identifying player in this space. You see, it's not a coincidence that Asianatic and Paleomiz are long departed while the rest of the founding generation stay ensconced. It's not a coincidence that Mousebumples was viewed with suspicion and driven out of the perch of Supreme Chancellor. And it's not a coincidence that Icarus was undermined to the point of leaving after her term.
These experiences tell a story, if the region is willing to listen.
But I am no longer willing to try and be the storyteller. The time has come for me to depart. While I will hold some fond memories and remember a few friendships with love, on the whole this game has become an altogether negative experience for me. I have decided that I can no longer engage and spend my own valuable energy and time on Europeia.
I hope this region will grow into a kinder place, and I wish those remaining the best of luck.
Always with love,
The Rt. Hon. Mary Louise McEntire"
She finished the letter with a big waxy seal and a deep sigh, then she went out to the mailbox and dropped the letters in. As they left her fingers, she felt a sense of relief at releasing control over what happened next.
She mounted Coffeepot and set out. Right as she reached the Arnhelm city limits, she turned and tried to gather some final words. Looking back at the sun setting over the city, she reached for some clever final words to say only to herself, but then silently turned her head away from the city and rode on.
She had said enough, and it was too late to look back.