Just not this year
I didn’t think it would happen this year. Not that I thought I would forget about it. I guess I just hoped it would come and go before I realized it.
But then the lights went up, as quickly as the ghosts came down.
And there I was- standing in the middle of the store, trapped between boxes of stuffing, cans of cranberry sauce, and a tower of pumpkin pie…sinking to my knees, watching them die, one by one by one.
But wait, we weren’t going to do this again, remember? That was the deal. I just had to make it through one more Thanksgiving, one more Christmas, and then next year– this year- would be different. This year would be happy.
But it was too late. The countdown had begun, the demons released. All of us going to hell: November 20, 2016.
Except, this year, it’s not just about the accident. It’s morphed into this fucked up source of shame. I mean, honestly, it’s been three years (or is it four?) They’re dead and you’re not. And it’s time to move on.
Then it turns to guilt, because what kind of person thinks like that? And then rage, because I keep ending up in this same wretched place. And I refuse to live like this, stuck in the past. And I’m not writing about it anymore.
But every night, they find their way in, under the covers and into my head, taking every thought prisoner and stealing my sleep. This is the only way they’ll relent – with an offering of peace, and hope, that maybe next year, they’ll let me bury the dead.
Every year, the same scene haunts me. But, it’s not of the accident. It’s a memory I’ve never had in a place I’ve never been.
I have no idea what his house looked like, or how big his family was, or if he even celebrated Thanksgiving. But that’s where I go, to his living room- his family seated around a long table lined with white porcelain plates, large bowls, and matching platters, all strategically placed around a simple, elegant flower arrangement with candles on either side.
A younger version of him, maybe his little brother, trying to reach the bowl of stuffing his mom is passing him over the empty place, the one next to hers, that she always sets, where he no longer sits…
Dalí came to mind,
As I studied you from the side.
The way your head tilted back,
Pouring down your spine.
On my knees, shivering
Staring at my phone,
Pulling up blades of grass,
One by one by one.
The silence mocked me,
Staring at my phone.
It wasn’t going to ring,
No one was going to come.
I can still taste it, that smell,
Charred rubber, oil, and gas.
But how could I hold my breath,
While you were taking your last.
The same place she always sits, that’s always set,- scene isn’t any less tragic. have been all the trees piling up ont or feeling in my sto