Families logo

An Early Thanksgiving

Short Story/Vignette

By CD TurnerPublished 5 years ago 3 min read

There's entirely too many Mammy dolls and statuettes in this house. It's like stepping into another realm, one which I don't blend in to. Grandma and Grandpa Mac's house, which Grandpa built with his own two hands. Everything is immaculate, orderly, pristine. I am out of my element among family members, their intrusive questions briefly answered with forced smiles. The smell of food wafts through house, as does gossip about church stories and how good God is for sparing Uncle James' house from water damage. I guess the other unfortunate waterlogged neighbors' house weren't worth God's attention.

According to Aunt Felicity, I should have gone to the last family gathering. Oh, yes, I should have gone and joined in that all important rambling about the importance of going to church, of living life for Christ, of blessings over your bland fucking potato salad. So, when did you graduate? Three years ago. Are you doing anything in your life right now? Well, I'm listening to your bitch-ass nosing into my school history. I couldn't have answered her honestly, which is: I'm an unemployed, bipolar nutcase that can't function in society.

I'm starving. How many more pleasantries must I insincerely exchange for my free meal? Oh, right. We're supposed to give thanks. Thanks for the candy-laced insults and guilt for being alive.

We are rounded up in the kitchen and Grandpa Mac says the blessing. I keep my eyes open and neck unbent, my silent rebellion, my spit on the Holy Tomb. I see my sister-in-law forcibly bend her son's head and clasp his hands together. I fight the urge to do the same to her, but I am of no authority. I must remain, on the surface, a wallflower. I must become the facsimile of myself, the smiling mess staring out of frames on the walls. Younger, naive, eyes full of apprehension, silent emotional turmoil.

Over dinner, stories are exchanged. I mutely chew my turkey, listening to conversation. I can't help but feel my life is missing all these mundanities of working life, of having relationships. It's with a bitterness that I join in conversation, putting on the facade of someone who has their life together. For a moment, I almost believe my own lie. How wonderful would it be to conform and stay comfortably numb in delusions of happiness!

I can only hope that the talk stays jovial and veers away from politics. There's a stack of books, lying one on top of another, a summary of the life lived in these walls: Seasons At Seven Gates Farm, Country, The Country Kitchen, American Family Treasury, The Founding of the United States 1763-1815, Mysteries of the Bible, Virginia Farms. The same stack of books sit beside an anthology of Dick and Jane children's stories and two wooden Mammy dolls with twisted black yarn for hair.

Is it fair for me to judge a household frozen in time from the Silent Years? Museums also hold such memorabilia, shall I slap the curator for displaying these time capsules, these artifacts from modern tombs? I guess it's more personal when it's your family history. It's not exactly like there's old Grand Master Dragon robes or KKK badges on the walls. Am I embarrassed from this not-so-ancient racism? Do I have the right to be offended?

The tables are clearing, dinner has completed. In this house, there's a dining room and table that's actually used for meals. Imagine, using these items named after their proposed functions. In our house, the dining table is also the TV stand and where random bowls of junk go. Kettle, coffee maker, smoothie mixer. In this house, everything has its own shelf, its own counter, its own placemat. The appliances have their own territories like cats.

I could have become complicit with this cookie-cutter Christian life. But complicit isn't synonymous with happy. Chaos doesn't blend into inertia. You can see logic and reason as enemies, but I've embraced them as friends. I have more clarity than I ever had believing in a fairytale. But clarity also isn't synonymous with happiness.


About the Creator

CD Turner

I write stories and articles. Sometimes they're good.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.