February 3, 2011
The smell of turkey baking in the oven hits my nose. It teasingly reminds me of every year before, for which I have striking memories.

My mom calls us to the table to say grace. A smile has been plastered on my face for hours now. The adults take their seats in the black iron chairs, while the four children wait outside the circle, reciting the one-thousand-times-said prayer.

My dad takes the carved turkey and sets it on the table, causing the new crisp white table cloth to crease. It is not only turkey that I smell now; all the dishes have their own scent, wafting up to me, begging me to try each one.

All children eat outside, in the glow of yellow candle light, and we laugh merrily, even though doing all the dishes by hand greets us when we are finished with the meal. The only help we get is from our two cousins that are here with us today. Plus, it’s Thanksgiving; why shouldn’t we be happy?

Late at night, only after everyone has eaten their fill, the quiet darkness settling around me, does the bright smile leave; now a different feeling washes over me, a different memory floods my mind. Tears fall down my cheek, soaking my pillow as I recall, years earlier, the vision of my best friend dying in a fire.

When I saw it, I thought it was just a nightmare. But, no, not three weeks later, she died. Her family died with her. She didn’t even make it until Christmas. Thanksgiving holds no meaning. It’s supposed to be about all that we are thankful for, but what can I be thankful for, when I dream of death?

My best friend left me without saying good-bye; why was I left behind?

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