I have a book called Complete the Story and it has 150 interesting writing prompts. I recommend it to anyone who often faces writer’s block. I am going to try to do one every other day. This is day 24, and prompt #127 in the book.
Prompt: Okay, so maybe the tweet had been a bad idea, but spontaneity keeps life interesting! Besides, I’d built a public reputation on being unpredictable, and I’ll never apologize for it. It certainly made Thanksgiving dinner interesting, not knowing which of my relatives had read or heard about it and which ones hadn’t. Even Grandma…
Okay, so maybe the tweet had been a bad idea, but spontaneity keeps life interesting! Besides, I’d built a public reputation on being unpredictable, and I’ll never apologize for it. It certainly made Thanksgiving dinner interesting, not knowing which of my relatives had read or heard about it and which ones hadn’t. Even Grandma checked her account from time to time, so really anything could have happened. When I arrived late and had to sit right down at the nicely-set table, curiously awaiting what conversation was coming, I was somewhat surprised to see that on the table was no turkey.
“Where’s the turkey?” I asked, then mentally slapped my forehead at how dumb a question that was when I had just publicly announced I was going vegan for a year.
My mother, who was setting herself down in a chair a few away from mine, cocked her head a bit confusedly and said, “I heard about your new big decision earlier today. I wanted you to feel comfortable, and I didn’t have time to figure out a tofurky or something. So we figured we’d just skip it this year.”
“But…are you sure? The turkey is the most important piece of a Thanksgiving dinner! And you’d just give it up like that…for me?” I refrained from adding, “For a random dare I accepted?”
“Ella! You say it like we don’t love you!” exclaimed Grandma.
“Yeah, but I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable around people eating meat when I was eating it as normal just the day before yesterday. You guys are totally fine,” I said quickly, a little embarrassed. I hadn’t meant for it to go this far.
“Oh. Um…okay. Thanks for…saying that?” said my cousin, Dale, awkwardly.
“You’re welcome,” I replied just as awkwardly.
“Hey, how about we have tofurky tomorrow? And even if not everyone can make it like today, it will be like making up for our loss,” my older sister Florence suggested, and everyone agreed to this.
So the evening went on, the beautifully-prepared turkey sitting on the table the way non-existent things do, my whole family together and having a nice dinner. Well, it wasn’t really that nice. Grandpa and my great-uncle were arguing from opposite sides of the table, and Grandma was yelling at them to cut it out. My nephew Ben accidentally dumped his plate on his lap, and in a effort to stop him from smushing his hands into the mess, Florence’s husband Zach reached over quickly and tipped over his wine glass, spilling the deep red liquid all over the fancy tablecloth. Ben’s older twin brothers, Harry and Tim, who were five, resumed drinking their juice like dogs now that their parents were distracted, but Harry stopped and took a deep breath, grinning at Tim all the while. As expected, Tim scowled and complained that Harry was stealing his air. I tried to do something in all this, but there was not much I could do to help. In the end, at least dessert was good and quiet. The kids had something sweet to occupy them.
Surprisingly, my vegan challenge went quite well. I powered through it, even when I really craved some eggs and bacon for breakfast. Finally, it was Thanksgiving. Even though last year, I had started being vegan the day before Thanksgiving, remember that it varies from year to year, so it was actually my one-year mark. I was planning to celebrate by participating in the delicious turkey meal coming this evening. I couldn’t wait all day (I had promised myself that I would continue to eat vegan until dinner), and I rushed through the door excitedly, actually almost on time for once, and washed my hands and sat myself down. My mom came in slowly, balancing the main event on her hands. As she slowly set it down in the middle of the table, I glanced at her. “What– I– I’m done with my vegan thing!”
“We know,” she said. “But oh, you should have been there, that day after Thanksgiving. Really, I thought you’d be there because it was all technically for you. But whatever. Point is, we all loved the tofurky so much. It’s better than normal turkey, El. You should really try it, if you haven’t yet. We’re gonna have it instead this year, and probably for a lot of years to come.”
“But–” I spluttered. “I–” I tilted my head back and groaned, then I sighed, said, “It’s okay,” which convinced no one but I think was trying to convince myself, and casually served myself some mashed potatoes.