Author has written 11 stories for Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Danny Phantom, Heir series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Psych, Merlin, Natsume Yūjin-Chō, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Forever, and Rise of the Guardians.
Disclaimer: The drawings are not mine, but the pictures are.
Until I can get a more stable computer source, my updates will be inconsistent at best.
Laughter permeates through the air, brightening the eyes of everyone it touches. Face red and chest aching, I squeeze my legs tighter together. I’m afraid that if I leave the table for even a minute I’ll miss something. At the pace this group is going with their sarcastic remarks and brutal quips, it’s a fair concern. We only all gather like this once a year, so each moment is precious.
“Jeff! Why do I smell hair burning again?!”
At my aunt’s interjection, the roar of laughter seems to stop, though from no lack of amusement. Hands grasp at burning chests as everyone tries to catch a breath. My uncle, who has a notable lack of eyebrows this Thanksgiving, is the worst of all. I can’t help but think had he any less experience in this regard, he would have fallen from his seat.
I go to bed that night, worn out and aching in the best of ways.
When I was younger, the idea that Thanksgivings down south could be anything but these magical moments never crossed my mind. I didn’t notice who was old or sick or dying. The thought that someone may not be there the next time we visited was foreign. I never noticed who was going until they were gone, taking with them memories of a time long ago.
Even before I fully understood the fickle and temporary nature of orally told stories, I was enthralled by them. As a child, I never understood why my cousins would rush off after dinner to go play when all the fun was at the table. I mostly just listened at first. After all, I had never blown myself up, never been sent to the hospital via jalapeño and defeat, never been struck by lightning. I thought this meant I didn’t have a story to tell. The realization that it was the way the stories were being told, far more than the content, that made them so special came with the knowledge that no story would ever be told the same way twice.
There are many new faces at the dining room table, and very few old ones. The stories have changed, any attempts to recreate ones told by those we’ve lost falling short of their original splendor. It took me a long time to realize that past memories are confined to the past, and even longer to accept it. However, this doesn’t mean I can’t still pass on those stories. Instead, I now focus on how I remember them being told, how I felt seeing their eyes light up in joy reflected by their listeners. I also don’t hesitate before sharing my own stories at the table, even if smarter decisions have made my life far less eventful. I may not be able to recreate my childhood for my baby cousins, but perhaps they will grow up loving this dinning room table just as much as I loved mine.