People swirled in an out of the kitchen like leaves riding eddies in a gurgling stream, always moving, never colliding. I sat on the bank, safely out of the way, watching and listening to happy chatter, and wanting to be elsewhere. The stream flowed out onto the large deck, following the food and drink and socializing. People stood eating, balancing cups and plates on the wood railing. Between the mountains in the distance and the international gathering on the deck, green palm trees and arbor vitae jumped above the rolling landscape of concrete driveways and tile roofs. Chinese and Indian food predominated. I sat in a corner and wished in vain that my spiced cider was spiked cider and tried to limit my urge to make inappropriate comments. It was an odd mood that urged me to turn everything into innuendo, a game I’ve often missed (Buddhists are sometimes too ‘nice,’ I think).
I had fun despite myself and due mostly to the infectious cheer of my fellow classmates. I danced the square, four-step dance we all learn in junior high school with Jun and was impressed that Mike managed the twirl and dip without dropping me, not once, but twice! The motley crew of graduate students, young professors, and monks even managed not to fall into obscure religious dialogue. Venerable Kit closed the vertical blinds and set up the projector in order to play Super Mario Brothers, no doubt made more interesting by people still coming in and out through the patio doors.
I rode home as the sun was setting and dove back into the distraction that had captured my attention since rising that morning – Chapter Fifteen. Instead of reminiscing, I chose creating, and managed to rescue one of the main characters from torture and escape in sixty-five hundred words before calling it a night. I called my parents and told them I miss them and love them and Happy Turkey Day, gobble gobble gobble. And I spent Thanksgiving evening watching classic anime on Hulu, teasing my cat, and practicing being thankful for all my good friends here.
I left the whiskey in the cupboard.