“Happy Thanksgiving” by Michelle Trottier

The alarm clock is going off for the third time.  My eyes are glued shut, but my arm dashes out from under the pillow to hit the sleep button.  I wrap my body around Jared’s and try to fall back to sleep, but this time I can’t.  It’s Thanksgiving.  It’s 11am, and it’s Thanksgiving.  We’re supposed to be gone by now.  I can hear my parents shuffling around upstairs, the squeaking of my grandma’s metal walker, my dad seemingly pacing the whole length of the house repeatedly, as if searching for something.  The older cat starts screaming at the younger one, long guttural sounds and then quick, siren-like howls.  The younger cat responds by jumping onto the kitchen table.  I unwrap myself and spread out on my side of the bed, trying not to get a headache before even leaving the warmth of the bed, but Jared, now fully awake, turns over and throws an arm over me.  “Happy Thanksgiving,” he says, half-kidding because we don’t take holidays seriously.  “Happy Thanksgiving,” I say.  “I guess we should get dressed.”

 

When we enter the upstairs living quarters, we are bombarded with questions.  “Are you ready to take off?”  “You want coffee to drink in the car?”  “How’d you sleep?”  “You don’t want breakfast or anything, do you?”  My stomach answers with a resounding yes while I shake my head.

 

In the car, Simon and Garfunkel are singing about clouds, but I only know this from memory.  My dad has taken to playing the music at a nearly inaudible level whenever my grandma is in the car.  Why he is all of a sudden taking my grandma’s preferences into consideration, I don’t know.  What I do know is that the music is too fucking quiet.  Jared can’t even routinely fall asleep he’s so distracted; I can tell he’s trying to decipher the words.  I entertain the thought of singing along at a comfortable volume to make his life easier.  It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.  Plus, I do Paul’s lower tones rather well.  It’s the higher ones I have trouble with.  Forget Art, though.  I’m a total lost cause.  Luckily, most of this album would be okay.  I almost start singing along when a deer runs in front of the car.  My grandma screams at my dad, as if he is responsible for the deer’s sudden rush across the road.  In protest, my dad shuts the music off.  It’s just as well, anyway.  The next song is one of the only ones in which Art sings lead, and trust me, no one wants to hear me whine my way through “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

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