I must be very still. I mustn’t panic. I am unsure as to whether or not my stomach is about to rip apart like that one woman’s did in Aliens. The difference here, if that does happen, is that this will not be an alien crashing through my belly’s glass ceiling; it will be the Thanksgiving dinner that I just consumed. Oh god. Cannot think about food. But what else is there to do?
A referee’s whistle blows on the TV. I wish I could shut this off but the remote is long gone and I can’t get up. My cousins, dad, aunts and uncles are outside doing something terrifying and masochistic-sounding. They call it “taking a walk.” This is almost worse but at least I’m horizontal. The sound of the football game replicates the feeling of someone with a long and bony pointer finger tap-tap-tapping on my shoulder to get my attention.
Yes? How can I help you?
“Do you recall how much stuffing you ate,” it asks me. Judge-y little shit. (Just one serving. Potentially six if you go by the box.) It wasn’t my fault, though. I started testing stuffing as part of my festive civic duty. At 3 p.m. my aunt offered me a giant, bread-covered spoon. She forced me to. She said that I just had to taste a bite. If I didn’t, it would have been rude.
At 3:15 p.m. I went back to pinch a piece out of the giant pot myself, just to be sure that nothing terrifying had happened to it in the fifteen minutes I’d been gone. To be clear: something may have happened. Last year someone slipped anise seeds into the recipe, so you never can be too careful. And this year I detected a bit of…I don’t know…gluten intolerance in the household. What if someone switched the batch on me while I wasn’t looking?
From that moment on I made sure that I’d keep an eye on things in the kitchen, overall.
At 3:30 I checked in with my other aunt who was working on a baked brie situation. “Careful,” she warned with her back turned and her second set of eyeballs watching me peer over a batch of spanakopita. “They’re very hot.”
Maybe she didn’t know my middle name is danger? I popped one my mouth, set my tongue on fire, cursed my Christian middle name and retreated.
At 3:35, I was back. Ha! I recognize an enemy’s distraction when I eat one. This time I caught my uncle peeking into the oven. He sliced us both a piece of turkey and we nodded in solidarity.
From 3:40 to 5, I left my post in the kitchen because the family cooks assured me they had it under control. They armed me with a goblet of red wine and a handful of crackers, then sent me to go hang out with my grandmother, as though I were a deeply troubled toddler. I checked in here and there to sample various cubes of cheddar.
And then — then we dined. My dad and I have a system: he fills his plate as high as he can. I’m more covert; I go back discreetly for multiple rounds of seconds, but we each channel our energy on gathering different side dishes so that we are guaranteed to try plenty of everything while exerting minimal effort.
Following this, a familiar dance: everyone pushed their chairs back and unzipped their pants. “I couldn’t possibly eat another bite,” we all cried. And then came another rally: PIE.
(You know my favorite Shel Silverstein quote about pie: “Mmmm–O00h-my! Chomp-Gulp-‘Bye!”)
Just as animals prefer to die in solitude, so do I. After a slice of pecan, pumpkin and this year’s experiment, I left the table silently to go find the couch, which is where I currently lie.
It has been two agonizing hours. My grandmother grew bored of doting and has left my side. I am fully cheesecaked and consumed with regrets. Why, why, why? Who eats that much in one sitting? How is it physically possible that I can store this much food? What was the point of eating that roll? Could I not have been patient during the one minute intermission I spent with an empty plate while waiting for someone to pass the corn?
Suddenly, it hits me: like Bernard is the robot and Bruce Willis is the ghost, I AM THE ALIEN. I AM THE MONSTER!!!!!!
“Hey,” someone whispers. I look up. It’s my cousin. Back from his walk, I see. “We’re making leftover sandwiches. Do you want?”
Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.
Ever heard the true story of how Thanksgiving got its name? Here’s what a French girl has to say about the whole thing.
SOURCE: Man Repeller – Read entire story here.