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Yikes. When my mom told me she was having the dinner I asked if there was anything I could bring. I said it the same way you say "How are you doing?" or "Are you sure there isn't anything I can do?" so I expected her to say "Nothing dear, just bring yourself!" like she has always done. Instead she asked me to bring dessert. How rude is that?
I couldn't make my mind what to bring. Pumpkin Pie is so pedestrian but Sacher Torte from LuAnn's Gateux is so expensive. Then I thought maybe I'd make some cookies and cupcakes but I've been using my oven to store boots and it hasn't snowed yet.
I have four hours to create something and nothing is open. I will have to think of something.
I will phone her and tell her I have the flu and quite possibly chicken pox.
Thank God..She knew that I'd flake out and took care of dessert herself. That's a relief.
Wait. That's an insult—if I wasn't starving to death I wouldn't even show up.
I had no idea that Mr. Van Heusan's neice was coming ( I can't remember his first name so I guess it's not that surprising that I don't know much else) and I had no idea that she was perfect and I also had no idea that she would be invited to OUR Thanksgiving Dinner.
Let's see Madelaine is, tall, thin, gorgeous, manages an art gallery, lives in Paris and is engaged to Étienne-- a lawyer of course.
My mother's best friend, loud mouthed Rosemary was there with her loud-mouthed daughter Kitty and her dorkasaurus fiancé who is an anaesthesiologist.
My mother had Mr. Van Heusan and I had nobody.
My mother was in hyperdrive when I arrived "late" according to big mouthed Rosemary who shouted through a mouthful of stuffed mushrooms and my mom did the intros so fast I'm surprised she didn't swirl me around and push me out the door. She handed me a glass of wine and plate of canapés and waved her hands at me "Pass them, pass them" before she rushed back to the kitchen.
Rosemary and her big mouth trundled over to me before I could take a step she grabbed a mitt full of hors'd'ouevres "So, what's new on the romance front? Anyone special?"
She has asked me this since I was five years old. The answer is always no. I could win the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow and she'd ask me the same question after the ceremony. Probably with the same shade of lipstick on her teeth.
"Maybe you're not looking in the right places! Kitty! "Kitty pried herself away from the stick figure fiancé she was mauling and ran across the room to put a little maul on me.
Kitty, (seriously, Kitty? What kind of name is Kitty?)used to be cross eyed with buck teeth . The braces are off and the contacts are in and she looks like her eyes are on wrong and her mouth is loose.
"Oh, Jenna! Happy Turkey Day! Yay!!! And I'm engaged! Yay!!" She gave teeny little claps with teeny little jumps then she lowered her voice to funereal tones, "You're not still alone are you?"
Before I had a chance to answer she yanked her fiancé Jonah over and asked me if I wanted to hug him.
"Um, no. I'm good"
"You can! I'll let you!"
"No. It's OK. Thanks."
"You know Jenna, there is someone for absolutely everyone, you'll see! Even the Guinness World Book's Heaviest Woman was married once. Can you believe that?"
No more than I can believe she is comparing my circumstances to the circumstances of a woman who needs a crane to grocery shop.
During this Jonah stood there like the dead lice was dropping off him (as my dear old grandmother used to say.) He has buggy eyes and the kind of lips that are really big but crusty and always have a little bubble of spittle in the corner. His mouth was hanging slightly open (so he could breathe I guess –or maybe honk) and when I reached to shake his hand I thought someone had handed me a raw chicken fillet.
"Isn't he great?" She squealed as she started nuzzling his pimply neck and I was seconds away from vomiting into my purse when my mom called us all into dinner.
"Charlie you sit at the head dear, and Madeleine, you sit next to your Uncle Charles. Etienne, you sit across from your sweetheart , Rosemary you sit next to me at the end, Kitty you and Jonah can sit next to each other and Jenna...1, 2, 3. 4, 5, 6, 7. Oh, dear. I've only set 7! What's wrong with me?" She scurried out to get a place setting while my heart broke in ten million places.
This was OUR Thanksgiving. This was where MY family used to eat. MY dad used to sit at the head. I could sit wherever I wanted. Now there were strangers at the table and no room left for me.
I could feel myself choking up but there was no way I wanted anyone to know how hurt I was. I told them I had to use the restroom and when I got there, I cried my heart out.
"Jenna?" Madeleine tapped softly.
Great. Miss Universe needs to pee
I trilled "I'll be out in a minute!" like I was auditioning for Glee and waited for her to walk away.
When I thought enough time had passed I opened the door. She was still there.
"You poor thing, we've completely taken over your house, I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault." (Well, maybe a little because you exist and all.)
"My mother used to do loopy things like that all the time and it used to drive me nuts. Let's go pig out on turkey and watch my uncle and your mom make goo goo eyes at each other." She took a Kleenex and blotted my eyes, tucked her arm into mine and led me down the hall. "Hey what's with that Kitty chick? And her fiancé? I found out why he's such a successful anaesthesiologist after talking to him for five minutes I was ready to pull out an organ."
I immediately stopped hating her and we walked down the hall whispering bad things about Kitty, it was wonderful.
The dinner went passably once I had an ally and I didn't even rise to the bait when Rosemary asked me if I was gay or just unlucky.
My mother set up a karaoke machine in the basement and we all took turns singing orscreeching (Rosemary) and it was the first Thanksgiving in years that I enjoyed.
God Bless Us Everyone.
Madelaine is in town until Sunday, then she goes to Chicago and then back to Paris. I have such a girl crush on her and she invited me to go to an opening tomorrow!
Wow! How exciting is that? I just like saying it. I phoned Christine to wish her a happy Thanksgiving and when she asked if we could get together for last minute baby shower details tomorrow I said "I'm going to an opening tomorrow." (Whoo hoo!)
Christine ruined it by not believing me. When I am rich and famous I am so dropping Christine. Julie better watch her step too.
Excerpt from Jayde An Extraordinary Woman in Ordinary Times
An Unathorized Autobiography By Jenna Thompson
Jayde sat alone at the Russian sidewalk cafe. The remains of her Thanksgiving dinner stirred her heart. She blew her nose and thought of her home in New York City. She allowed herself a sigh, threw some rupees on the table and left the cafe.
As she strode purposefully down the street, her sexy sway still visible on each leg under the silken fabric of her skirt, she suddenly got the feeling she was being followed. Jayde was a professional and quickly slipped into a bakery. She ordered some Russian stuff from the Russian woman behind the counter and stood with her back to the window. She watched the passerbys with her compact.
Within seconds she'd spotted him. He had a trench coat and a baklava mask. He was standing across the street peering over a newspaper.
Jayde snapped the compact shut, paid for her Russian baked goods and asked the woman where the toilet was. Jayde sleekly ran up the backstairs and within seconds she was jumping from roof to roof.
"So much for being thankful" she panted wryly and slithered down a drain pipe.