Photo by Ashley Gravett

The Dinner We Ate Cold

Which Was Better Than Not At All

This Thanksgiving was different from the last several. I am sick, and grumpy about it. We were hosting and I was so excited to prepare a couple of the dishes; sit around and cook and talk and hang out with family and friends all day. A community effort to prepare this feast. But I was banned from my own kitchen, which I get. No one wants a sickie making their food.

I sat in the corner alternating between hot tea and mulled wine giving instructions to my friend, who was now making the food I had intended to prepare. My Love seemed off as well, perhaps a bit stressed and felt like he had to be responsible for making sure everything got done. He and I were already tense when others showed up. And his sister, who has a terrible habit of interrupting others when she is excited, was doing just that.

Conversation ebbed and flowed as we were chopping bits of this and that. And politics came up, which we all pretty much agree on. But the way something was said was not quite the way the other person received it. And then an interruption, an emotional trigger, voices raised between my Love, his sister and her boyfriend and all of a sudden the three of them were yelling. Her boyfriend stepped outside to cool off and my Love and his sister kept at it. My friend at the table and me still in the corner, both of us silent. I was sort of in shock at what was happening. I had never seen them fight like this before. She in the kitchen making gravy and he near his desk just shouting at and over each other, as if the loudest would win. It ended with a screamed explicative and my Love leaving.

Dinner was ready by the time everyone came back, but there was this edge of uncomfortable and when asked if we should eat, I said I think there are some feelings that need to be talked about and not just swept under the rug. Love and his sister went to take a walk and talk. I assumed they would both apologize and get to a place where we could all sit down and have dinner together. But instead, when he came back up he went to our bedroom and she grabbed her purse and keys and said she was leaving and she did. I ran after Love, her boyfriend after her.

Everyone felt hurt, no one felt listened to, and the idea of being right about it somehow was the most important thing. Everyone played a part and everyone had done some wrong and was a little bit right, which is the truth of most fights. A phone call got her back. There were tears and eventually laughter around the table when we sat down together. The people we love surely do have the capability to hurt us the worst. We were able to name the things that we were grateful for and ate the cold food that we had spent all day preparing.