Fall 2020, “Thanksgiving”

Joshua Farley, Sophomore Contributor

This is part of the series The Creative News, which captures the “atmospheres” of feeling during the year 2020 as pieces of fiction.

     They got home as it became dark, and he sought out some paper and his favorite pen. He wrote like his hand would never keep up with the words in his head, piercing the paper in several places and causing ink to rub all over the outside of his left hand. She sat beside him and smiled ‘till she cried every step of the way.

     Just then, he could recall life around Thanksgiving time in that same year, when he had just crossed over to seventeen. Recording his thoughts at the time, though he was older now, his heart gave a start and he started to cry. She joined him when he said he realized he needed to see his parents. His first home was a place he hadn’t been to in longer than he ever thought would have been possible. In the real world, time just flies, doesn’t it?

     They decided that a pair of plane tickets were in order. He promised to do the same; she hadn’t seen or even heard from her parents in double the amount he had been away. As they hastily got ready, the ink dried on what was to be a crucial part of the book that was ready to be after so many years struggling to come into the light in his own mind. . .

 

Fall: “Thanksgiving”

A first snow falls hard on the rooftops and illuminates the dirt that was scattered about the ground from the storm. It’s still fall so the red leaves are being taken under by the pellets of a sadder season.

Once when we were sad, we looked greenly to the world outside our head. The shutters are drawn tight around this frozen enclosure, and so we turn our eyes to the red lines on the screens dangling above our heads.

The red grows higher, a painful fire. Destruction pushes you down, spins you around, tosses you into the leaves. I gotta get away from this place. I can’t spend any more time around people who cast hate and despair.

When the night falls, we go inside and sit around the table talking as a family. We agree about the problems that loom as a fateful fate for my generation, but not on what we should do to do something about it. On the answers, will I ever agree with anyone as much as me?

Saddened by all the problems I can’t solve on my own, I take back to the trail. One last ride.

Emaciated shadows, the spirits of the forest watch and howl out my name in the dying sunlight. We’ve all been in places we shouldn’t have been. I ride faster and farther and anticipate the moment I lose myself and you and it all comes crashing down.

Just as a ranger from another time, I’m shot down by the cold dust of the dead valley. I hold out my arms before I fall, making peace with the emptying of myself to the blank pages of the world around me.

I don’t float free to my next home yet. I survive but I’m damaged by the sad, the nothingness as feeling is washed away from you because it’s hard to feel so strongly so long about things that show no sign of getting better.

Where have our friends gone? They ride away as I do my best to stand up from this fall.

I check the screen again (too much!!) as I go back home to get warm and that feeling’s setting in again. For once, I don’t see a way forward.

I’ve been fighting to keep looking forward for so long but now I’m starting to forget what I’m dreaming of, in light of all the darkness and the danger. If you can remind me, I’ll be here on the ground in the woods, soaking everything in before the snow covers me and I have to scrape the ice from my eyes.