This tiny miracle
The woods were dark, but it was summer, and the darkness was warm and not unfriendly. It was dark enough to hide my hand in his, twelve years old and trembling, breath catching with wonder. He was dark-haired and dark-eyed. Beautiful and kind and somehow, beyond understanding, mine in this moment. Chooser, chosen. There were voices all around as we followed in the dark behind the camp counselors, not knowing where we were going, not caring. Wanting it to last and last. And then, the trees opened up and down below and far away there were islands and sea, the white foam of current, the sky full of constellations and a great arching bridge across the span. I marveled. This tiny miracle beside me as vast and fragile and unknown as the gorgeous night world around me, and I, silently glowing in the darkness beneath a field of stars.
How it always was
It was like this: pie-making the night before and cassette tapes of Patrick Stewart reading A Christmas Carol. It was an extra pumpkin pie for my dad. Breakfast pie. But also snack pie, lunch pie, leftover pie—all his. It was the smell of sautéed celery and onion for the dressing, and dicing stacks of white bread slices, and the Macy’s parade on the television, and my mother yelling to my father, “Dan! The Rockettes are on!” It was never really about the turkey. I didn’t like pie. But the mashed potatoes, topped with peas and gravy—they were everything. Candles on the table and gesticulating Italians and my dad’s sharp and booming laughter. And then dirty dishes and small plates for the sweet things and lying on the living room floor to watch holiday specials. This was only the beginning. Thousands of tiny lights would soon hold their month-long vigil against the longest nights. Hope was being born in the darkness, like a match being struck.
J.M. RODDY is a freelance and fiction writer, a high school teacher, a mother of two, and a Thanksgiving enthusiast.