Mr. & Mrs. President by Hailey Payea
 I would watch him every day, slowly ascend to the stage with all spotlights and eyes on him. I could be mad at him for not responding to a serious question; I could be upset that he showed no signs of affection for the entire week prior; I could be happy because we had plans to go get coffee later that day. I felt in power when he was controlling the flow of the day for the school. He was able to exert his dominance, which made him stand out against the crowd. When you’re in a relationship, you share things. I felt eyes on me as well when he would mess up, laugh, or do something notable. His legacy and mine would forever be intertwined. In history, Presidents are deeply loved or deeply despised. All Presidents are under close surveillance by the public and the media; all Presidents become like celebrities when elected; most Presidents tend to be tall; but our fearless leader is none of the above. He’s well respected, which is probably one of the best qualities about him. The precedent is that the President’s right hand man is Chief of Staff, while on the President’s left hand lies his trusty First Lady. I found myself assuming this lofty position in the school hierarchy about nine months ago. The President shares every political secret with the First Lady; she knows each politician’s weakness, and congressmen tremble at her feet. She knows that if someone looks at her in the wrong way, he will be fired from higher orders in an instant. Our friends constantly compare him to Frank Underwood, played by the one and only Kevin Spacey in the Netflix hit, House of Cards. Underwood, the Democratic whip through two seasons and hundreds of manipulative and controversial acts, becomes President of the United States. Mr. President usually compares our relationship to that of Frank Underwood and his wife, Claire. We both share a mutual love for this masterpiece Netflix has created. However, the power couple are far from an ideal relationship. They lie, deceive, and cheat on one another multiple times, but the comparison soon became more apt than either of us would imagine. He had taken his casualties during his rise to power. His freshman year he decided he wouldn’t try to be a big shot, which was a smart political move because no one wants to see a prepubescent, slightly annoying freshman thinking he can dominate the school. He was rejected from Honorary Photo Society and an elite a capella singing group; he had a nonexistent public image. But as Underwood says, “For those climbing to the top of the food chain there can be no mercy.” Within two years, this shadow of a person systematically disappeared and became more and more of a popular image of power. He successfully ran for sophomore class president, then junior class president; then he re-wrote the Masters constitution, and then claimed what was his, co-chair of the student body government. He was offered a handwritten invitation to join the singing group, and soon after was accepted into Honorary Photo Society. He isn’t an intimidating person, which is what perplexes me about his public image. In fact, he is quite typical: brown hair, medium height, medium build and brown eyes. People act like they are scared of him when there isn’t anything to fear besides his normalcy. With his words alone he has the power to change someone’s mind. When I first truly got to know him, as in understand him as a person rather than a figure, he took over my conscience. I remember in sophomore year pondering if someone was worthwhile to date and immediately this popped into my head, “What would Mr. President do?” His passive aggressiveness becomes a source of insecurity for many who know him. At times, I would ask, “Are you judging me?” He only responded with “No, not at all,” coated in a defensive tone that made me regret every decision I had ever made. What is interesting about him is that for two years he enacted a plot to sabotage my relationships in order to facilitate our own. He explained it to me a few months into our relationship. “Remember when I would take your phone and text David?” At that time David was my boyfriend whom, ironically, I had met at Mr. President’s birthday party when he was supposedly going to make his “first move” after waiting years to remove his image of the boy next door. Mr. President and David have known each other since first grade and they live two blocks away from one another. “Well, each time I texted him I would start some sort of argument. Then I knew it was only a matter of time before one was too big to recover from.” He pulls stunts like this all the time and part of being in his life is accepting the shenanigans he pulls. It’s a way he ensures he gets his way which, in other words, means he is a control freak. For some reason he gets really insulted when people call him a control freak. Besides our testy dynamic, we find ways to depend on each other, which mirrors the relationship between the Underwoods. There is a social stigma that tells teenagers that they have to do everything with their significant other and if not, then they are a dysfunctional couple. Mr President and I do not feel guilty if we have plans without the other; we find other ways to be dysfunctional. I broke up with him over the summer in a rage. I hadn’t seen him for months, and he expected things to be fine. I had gone on other dates with boys and there was a mix of guilt and anger residing in my stomach when I said what had to be said on the phone. He somehow took control of my life again once we came back to school. I don’t know how, but like all the other things he conquered, it just happened. He found the voicemail I sent him that day over the summer and he laughs about it. I don’t, it hurts me to listen to it because most of those things are still an issue in our relationship. I asked him one day whom he imagined he would still keep in touch with from high school in ten years and he responded, “You.” That night I cried because I couldn’t imagine the same. I assume that I stay with him because I can’t see myself without him. He has changed me for the better, and I am not sure if it is because of my absorption of his power, which would flow from his hand to mine, or because he is a good person. As Underwood says, “Proximity to power deludes some into thinking they wield it.” But let me make this clear: in no way is he emotionally like Frank Underwood. He radiates kindness and his compassion cannot be replicated. Mr. President’s likability and wholesomeness is what helps him adapt to the power he holds. He worked hard for his presidency, but power does something that cannot be taken back. Power demands responsibility and takes time; he is not able to multitask in both a relationship and a political position. He thought I would be able to be alone and still understand he cared for me. He thought that the power we shared was enough to fill a hole from his emotional absence. When he pursued me for such a long time, he just assumed that I could adapt. His soul mate was power and mine him. Sometimes I ask him about his plans or college because I know that he will have to surrender his conquests in less than six months, and I don’t think he is ready for that yet. I try to hint that he should be a lawyer because he already knows the Constitution by heart, but he just nods his head. He doesn’t like thinking about his future wars and how he will have to start all over again one day. Once when we were out for lunch at our favorite pizza place, I put down my phone and looked him dead in the face, “What do you want to be when we grow up? Besides the obvious.” And he looked at me with some form of confusion and distress. He hadn’t thought of an alternative to the obvious-- it was in his title after all. As Underwood says, “There’s no better way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of naked truth.”