Waking up the morning after the Super Bowl in the city of the losing team is a singular experience I may never have again. The gray February sky is not exactly dreary; more like vacant. The air feels post-apocalyptic. Statistically, more people in America stay home on this Monday than any other – a fact most visibly evident in the city denied the trophy. Those who do go out appear to be forcing themselves through the motions of work or school out of reluctant obligation, rather than earnest motivation. To put on a cheerful smile or an exuberant tone of voice would be a transparent charade, an almost insulting act of patronization. What few Panthers flags remain limply suspended from mailboxes and storefronts are not actually tattered, but might as well be. They look equally as hungover and despondent as the residents inside. Those flags symbolize a once hopeful celebration that now looks frivolous and naïve in the rearview mirror. Glints of sunshine first slice through the clouds at three in the afternoon, as the day makes one late, yet determined, attempt at triumph.