A/N: and with this we come to a close. I'd like to thank all who hung in there and encouraged me with reviews. It was a gas!
Thanksgiving morning Marge Bailey awoke early, while it was still dark (she took Wednesday night off to prepare food). Reaching over to the nightstand, she picked up the gold chain with the tiny vial, and raised it to her lips.
"Good morning, baby," she said, and kissed him, as she had done every day for the past ten years, but this morning added "Happy Thanksgiving."
The tiny, sealed vial contained a few of Nigel's ashes. The rest she had scattered over a pasture on his farm in England one perfect summer's day, dressed in his favorite summer print dress, running barefoot through the rich grass, to the lazy buzz of insects and the trilling of birds. It was also the day she finally stopped aching to join him, and chose to live instead.
She pulled on her robe and prepared some coffee, looking in the refrigerator to check on the mandarin orange trifle dessert she had prepared last night for Thanksgiving dinner with the Sheets. The sponge cake, oranges and orange Jell-O base layer was set perfectly in the cut crystal bowl, as was the lovely yellow-orange middle layer of thick Bird's custard. The custard was firm and substantial, not runny, just as Nigel's mother had taught her to make it. All that was left to prepare was the top layer of fresh whipped cream and some mandarin orange slices for decoration. She got out her mixer and the container of whipping cream. Her trifles were not traditional; they contained no alcohol. People loved them anyway because they were invariably fresh, sweet, and delicious.
Marge always enjoyed Thanksgiving with John and Mary, but this would be special. Her recommendation of Finn Hudson for the scholarship (it was actually more the case that the trust would be assigned as a third party payor assigned to Finn's student account) would sparkle up the conversation, she was sure.
Whipping the cream, Marge was excited about Rachel and Finn. Something about the way the two of them performed together, the way they channeled their adoration for each other into song and motion, that infectious chemistry, made her wonder what would happen when they were unleashed after being properly trained. She grinned; glad she would be alive to witness the birth of what might become one of the truly great artistic partnerships. She shuddered to think how close it had come to being stillborn. They were so young and inexperienced when they met, anything could have wrecked it. Marge was determined to be there to nurture them along.
She felt similarly towards Elena and Geoff. Their sweet, serene, love affair lacked the tumultuous drama of Rachel and Finn's, but it too possessed the potential of producing great art.
She took her coffee over to the kitchen table and picked up a book. Her phone buzzed. There was an email from Rachel, titled "Happy Thanksgiving!" The body of the email said "We love you, Marge. Thanks for everything. Finn and Rachel". Below that was a picture, apparently taken in bed. Finn looked fast asleep, and Rachel was cuddled close to him, covers up to her neck, wearing an impish grin. Marge laughed.
Geoff's email came around ten o'clock. Its subject line read "Surf's Up" . She noticed copies were sent to Rachel and Finn. The body simply said, "Happy Thanksgiving, from Molly, Elena and Geoff". It too, had a picture, of Elena and Geoff in wetsuits on the beach, hunkered down for the camera, smiling. Sitting between them was a beautiful border collie, a well-chewed Frisbee at its feet.
Thanksgiving had always been a puzzle to her. It just didn't seem to make sense to tie feelings of thanksgiving to the motion of the earth around the Sun. This time, however, Marge felt the holiday came with perfect timing. Her fellow nighthawks were with their soul mates and getting some sleep. She could definitely be thankful for that, she thought, as she made her way to the Sheets'.
She thanked herself for choosing, in that Devon meadow so long ago, to not let her grief consume her, and to live. And she thanked him for the life he gave her, and his sweetness, and how she wished that sweetness could transfer itself into her trifle, in some poignant kind of transubstantiation, so those that loved him could sense his presence again instead of depending on the vagaries of memory.
Hugging her cardboard box with the trifle bowl inside, Marge rang the Sheets' doorbell. It was going to be great from now on, she could feel it.