“So, first thing Monday morning, I’m initiating the first of several new initiatives. As of Monday, the ‘Fresh Air for Cannes’ law goes into effect. Simply said, it will no longer be legal to break wind in the town’s limits. Shall we eat?”
The mayor sat down and flicked his napkin over his lap.
“Did he say what I think he said?” Bird asked.
“Breaking wind means farts, right?” Fred asked.
“Legend. Epic legend,” said Remington.
There was a lull. No one said a word, and I imagined they were all concentrating on not farting. I jumped when Grandma cleared her throat.
“I think we could start, Mayor, by going around the table and whoever wants to, can say what they are thankful for,” she said. “I’ll start, I’m thankful that there’s love in the world, that people find their soulmates and have a lifetime of love.”
Holden squeezed my hand, and I swallowed.
The declarations of gratitude went around the table until it got to Remington. “I’m thankful for it all,” he said and smiled. I held my breath, but he was true to his word. He didn’t look my way and never let on that he and I had gone for a tumble in his sheets every day for the past two weeks.
Ruth’s niece, Julie was just about to say what she was grateful for – – probably for having all of her fingers and toes, despite her accident with a food processor last week– – when there was a loud stomping down the stairs. I closed my eyes, knowing full well who was making the noise and dreading what came next.
I wished for a time machine or a teleportation device, or just to be invisible or to not exist. But none of my wishes came true. No matter how hard I wished, my mother was there, her hair a rat’s nest on her head, her lipstick smeared past her lips and over her cheek, and her clothes were wrinkled, like she had slept in them, and of course she had. She was in that sweet spot before she had finished sleeping off her drunk, right before her hangover started and she had to contend with being sober. She was meanest during her sweet spots.
“What the hell?” she screeched. “You started without me? I live here, you know. What am I thankful for? It sure isn’t my daughter or my mother-in-law.”
I closed my eyes and prayed that someone would fart.