I Want To Be The Old Shoe

Uncle Lawrence was snoring. The twins, Seth and Sam, were pretending to enjoy the game. Freddy was talking to Parker. Parker was scrolling on her phone. Mom and her sister Auntie Jacks were cleaning up in the kitchen. Dad was still dead. And I was contemplating exit strategies.

Where was Shona? Ducking out of Post Thanksgiving dinner was so much harder when someone had beat you to it. I snuggled under Grammy’s quilt and fantasized about driving a riding mower across the living room and out the bow windows. I turned a page of the Reader’s Digest. My mom and them cackled from the kitchen. Freddy the neighbor boy who invited himself to our holidays leaned in to Parker. The twins cursed at the tv while Uncle Lawrence farted in his sleep.

“What that smell?” Parker said still looking down at her phone.

Shona appeared. With her extra long locs and boho goth vibe, Shona reminded me of the girl from The Ring. I wondered if I could borrow her hell well. Then I noticed what she was holding. Then we all noticed what she was holding.

“Holy shit, the Grudge found the Monopoly!” Sam shouted.

Carrying a wine glass, Mom walked out of the kitchen. With a red wine mustache Auntie Jacks followed. Uncle Lawrence blinked in the afternoon sun. Shona raised the slightly crushed dust encrusted box over her head. It smelled of endless bickering, violent arguments, house rules, and that weird scent of old basements. I’d thought the game had been thrown out after the infamous snow day debacle of ‘09. Shona set it on the cleared dining room table. Even though the edges were buckled and burst it was apparent the game was completely intact. The family and Freddy took our places. Uncle Lawrence set the tv to an oldies station. The twins got a knife and the nice dessert plates. Parker carried in sweet potato pie. The smell of pumpkin pie spice and coffee mingled with old basement. Auntie Jacks plunked a boxed wine on the sideboard. Shona looked around the table and lifted the lid.

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