“There, there, everything’ll be fine,” her mom tells her as she pours a tall glass of bourdeaux.
“I just don’t want to talk about it anymore,” she responds, still in her pajamas that consist of a pair of Nike shorts draped by one of Todd’s oversized club lacrosse shirts.
“You know, your dad and I also–”
As her dad sits in his usual leather chair with two fingers of scotch in his hand, she can barely stand hearing the Lions game. On the couch underneath a chunky blanket with Sperry burying his head into the fold of her legs, she starts watching Stuck In Love on Netflix with her headphones in.
Her father isn’t entirely sure what happened, but he knows something happened. He can see she’s intently watching the movie, but every couple minutes he peers over with his eyes to make sure she’s not crying. He wants to ask, but he also knows that he can’t handle the floodgates should tears enter the situation. Slinking out of his chair as if he’s sneaking away from a sleeping bear ready to attack, he tip-toes into the kitchen.
Grabbing some stuffing out of the bowl being prepared by her mom, he asks, “Honey, do you know what’s going on with her? Something’s awry.”
Whispering back for fear of her hearing them through her headphones, she responds, “I’m not sure, hun, she’s refusing to talk about it. I can only assume it has to do with Todd.”
He picks another finger pinch of stuffing out of the bowl before she swats his hand away.
“George William Fitzpatrick, if you keep eating the stuffing, there’ll be nothing left for dinner!”
He heads to the pantry for a bag of pretzels and some pimento cheese dip before cracking a seasonal ale and pouring it into a Tervis tumbler brandishing the emblem of his old prep school. “Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here finishing the game.”
Gingerly, he heads back over to the chair giving her the same eyes he gave as he snuck away minutes before.
Going movie to movie throughout the afternoon, it finally became time to get ready for dinner before the entire family showed up. Traditionally, it was a very formal affair and this year is no different.
Adorned in a plaid dress, she stands in her bathroom combing her hair while everyone trickles in. The commotion downstairs is reminiscent of years gone by, and being in her old bedroom overwhelms her with enough nostalgia to temporarily forget what happened that night on Friendsgiving. The only text she received all day were from people she hasn’t spoken to in years saying, “Happy Thanksgiving” followed by numerous fall-oriented emojis. But for the night, she decides to leave her phone on “Do Not Disturb” on her bedside table in an effort to celebrate family over her personal life.
“Everything is fine,” she thinks to herself with one last look in the mirror. With a deep breath, she straightens her pearls and walks down the spiraling staircase to greet everyone.
With her uncles dressed in turtlenecks and sport coats, she hugs them each as they tell her how “grown up” she looks. It feels as though it’s been forever since they’ve seen one another, despite it only being a couple months since her niece was christened.
As the gentlemen head to the bar with their red wine and scotch in hand, she approaches her Aunt Claire.
“Look at you,” Aunt Claire comments while holding her hands and taking a step back. They smile at one another as Aunt Claire puts her hand on her lower back and lead each other into the living room.
Unknowingly, Aunt Claire looks over to her and utters, “So, tell me about this boy I’ve been hearing all about.” .
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