Hope you all have a wonder-filled and blessed holiday weekend. Some are blessed to enjoy the holidays with their families and loved ones. But not everybody. Some spend the holidays by themselves, sometimes because they want it that way; other times, because they have no other choice...
I'd like to share with you a short story I wrote for Sporkette Gazette, for last year's Thanksgiving issue of this poignant newsletter of author and digital artist Patricia Spork.
Hope you enjoy the read!
Think Green, Think Vegetarian
|"Green in Sylt" Copyright Alina Oswald, 2010.||All Rights Reserved.|
Home for the Holidays
By Alina Oswald
There’s nothing like going home for the holidays. The experience reconnects us with timeless memories—the kitchen, alive yet again with familiar scents and useless helpers; my parents’ living-room, rich with a mixture of cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie flavors; the present generation of kids—not me, not my siblings anymore—running around, their steps sending tiny shivers throughout the entire house; my parents with their faces carved by time, yet opened into broad smiles as they savor the masterpiece of their lives, their (our) family. Yet, the masterpiece is slightly chipped. One tiny piece is missing, carved out by a tragedy everybody has been trying to put behind for years now, yet the devastation of that instant, so long ago, has been coming back to haunt my family, like a nightmare that doesn’t wanna go away. The chipped surface is almost unnoticeable by now, smoothed away by Time, yet Time is not the perfect healer, as some may think. It will never be able to make the masterpiece perfect ever again.
I am the missing chip, the reason for the sole imperfection in my family’s otherwise perfect existence. I can only show myself in the sanctuary of shadows and darkness. I would scare my loved ones if I ever dared show myself in bright light. And I’d never put them or myself in that kind of danger. Not human anymore, I have become a monster. Now, in my second incarnation, I wouldn’t let them know I even exist.
Wobbling my way through the swamp, I hit the murky frontier separating humans from beasts, their territory from ours. I wait there and hold my breath until familiar voices and childhood scents trickle through. I let the rays of sunshine play hide-and-sick on my back through the dying leaves of the forest. The warmth is strong enough to comfort even a cold-blooded creature like myself. I miss the oily texture of the swamp shielding my body like a shadowy veil. I’ve called it Home, ever since the accident. I’ll go back soon, resume my second life in the body of my attacker, the beast that engulfed me whole in one bite that Memorial Day, in the Bayou.
Today though, I won’t think of it. Today humans give thanks. I have to be with my family, even if only from a distance, to give my thanks.
I’ve learned to ignore my hideous body zigzagging heavily against the dry land. Maybe it would be better to show myself to them. Let myself be killed, once again… I wonder if, once again lifeless, my body would turn into its human shape, like the werewolves’ do. I wonder what my family would think of me then?