A Thanksgiving Photo

“Don’t take it yet!” The tween readjusted her barrette. Her mouth went through a series of spasms, checking to make sure her jaw still functioned. It settled in a faint pout. “Ready.”

“Smile, everyone,” her father suggested to the table.

“Skip, stop making that noise,” quipped the old lady seated in the corner. Skip crunched on his dentures. “Lord,” she grumbled.

“Alright, everyone,” the father urged. Then, deliberating: “get the rolls off to the side. They aren’t browned.” He checked his apron: Yes! I’m the chef!

“You’ve got something on your side, Bean,” the old lady swished her finger.

“Just buttons. It’s called steampunk,” the tween twitched.

“What’s that?” asked the old lady.

“Victorian stuff, but with gears and cogs. And buttons.” Her grandmother’s nose wrinkled.

“We’re taking the picture now,” the father warned. “If you don’t smile, you don’t smile. Dad, keep your teeth in.” Skip obliged. The camera flashed.

“Beanie, did you help with dinner?” The old lady turned to her granddaughter. They were seated next to each other, inspecting the green beans floating in a soup of garlic and cream.

“Well… I mean, I made the centerpiece,” the tween offered. The flower bouquet in the middle of the table was made up of daisies and orange roses. Paper turkeys had been glued to the side of the vase, creeping up the side in a colorful procession of red, blue, and candy-striped birds.

“That one’s no good,” announced the dad. His inspection of the camera roll had proved useful after all. “Put your smiles back on.”

“Dad,” Bean grimaced.

“Sit down and don’t step on Mommom’s oxygen cord,” her dad instructed.

“That would make it a little difficult to eat,” joked her grandmother in a whisper, patting her on the back.

“I hate this.” The tween applied her most formidable glower for the camera.

“Well, you haven’t been on your feet all day preparing meat and pie and the stuffing that I remember you asking for,” her father remonstrated with her, propping the camera back up in the corner.

“You didn’t make anything chocolate.”

“Neither did you, Sabine,” he skirted back to the other side of the table to pose behind his parents. “I want to see lots of teeth, gang!” He checked that his apron would be in the shot. “And Bean, there’s a lava cake in the fridge. Picture in three! Two! One!”

Her face broke into a smile. The camera flashed.

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Nick at the Window – An Imagined Great Gatsby Moment

It wasn’t curiosity that inclined my ear towards the two bodies inside; I was doubtful that, after my time on West Egg, I would ever find myself ravenous in that sense again. It was by the window that feverish day that the first breeze in hours rose up from the beach and grazed past the brushwood and white flora to coax me closer. Even from inside Daisy seemed startled by the stirring in the air  – for a moment she drew her hand away from Tom’s and peered outward into the balmy darkness, her expression searching for something I could not detect.

“What is it?” Tom demanded.

“Just some air.” Her response wafted out to me on the fragile breath that she had produced.

“I’d rather something other than this,” he gestured towards the bottle in front of him. “It’s sweating almost as much as I am.”

“Tom–”

“Alright, one for her too,” he called.

“No, it isn’t that,” she murmured. Tom and I both sensed the unusual depth in her words, sad and insubstantial though they were. It was the first time that I saw Daisy tethered. Even her speech, the weightless form it took after leaving her lips, could not keep her aloft. Rather, it may have been those four words that drew her back towards Earth. “It’s that… it’s about today–”

“We won’t get into that.”

“But Tom…” This time it was her hand that was outstretched across the table, even harboring hesitancy.

“Daisy,” his voice rattled out from between his teeth.

“I think it’s worth discussing…I want to discuss it and…” her mouth fell open, twitching at the corners at she gazed fearfully past her husband, grasping for words. Daisy must have felt the absence of the breeze in that moment just as I did. There was a second that I thought that Tom, his breath hot with liquor, might chuckle. It occurred to me that he knew his wife well in spite of the fact that he had known so many others during their five years together, and that what he had ascertained during those years was that Daisy was not the defiant sort, and never would be. Neither would she be worth the effort – however slight – that it would take to distress her, although that is not to say that Tom never indulged in that effort. Perhaps that is why he eased out of his chair, finished off his drink with an extended gulp, and strode out of the room with the two untouched bottles of ale, leaving Daisy’s unfinished sentence swirling in the stagnant air.

The Monumental Human vs. Feline Debate

Disclaimer: In no way do I encourage replacing school for the frankly impossible  goal of becoming a different species.

In an effort to remove myself from “human responsibilities” (ha – what teenager has those?),  I’ve decided to become a cat.

See, that puts me in a predicament. For one thing, cats can’t speak, which means they can’t voice their preference of one meat-flavored kibble over the next. They also accumulate rather disgusting hairballs. (Obviously I do know that long-haired cats are more prone to these afflictions than their short-haired counterparts, but considering the length of my hair now, I worry that my feline alter ego would fall into the former group.)

Oh, and that last problem; I’m a human, or, in other words, not a cat.

Why I am I so quick to throw away the advantages that come with belonging to the human race? I’m not. Conversations are fun, school is important, and I admit I’d be lost without my opposable thumbs. Think about it like this: being a celebrity. Maybe I’ve always wanted to spend twenty-four hours as Britney Spears, so I try it out and have a blast wearing clothes that cost more than my house and being photographed while ordering coffee. People want to know my opinion about the latest trends and who my boyfriend is and if I’m still crazy and blah, blah, blah…

Sound about right?

Well that day I spend as Britney Spears probably goes fine, maybe even exhilarating, but ends overwhelming. I mean, curl-up-in-a-blanket-at-home-and-shut-the-blinds-so-no-one-knows-you’re-home overwhelming.

Spending the day as a cat would be far less stressful. What more is there to life as a cat besides eating, sleeping, and being fawned over?

Let’s compare schedules:

5:30 a.m. for teenage human: wake up

5:30 a.m. for feline: whatever it wants

6:40 a.m. for teenage human: ascend steps of The Yellow Automobile

6:40 a.m. for feline: whatever it wants

7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for teenage human: daily stuffing of knowledge into the brain

7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for feline: whatever it wants

See what I mean?

So yeah, let’s drop everything and grow tails. We used to have them anyway…