Clock Watching

It was a perfect excuse to blow off my family.  Getting in the car a driving for a few hours just to have dinner and then get back into the car and drive another 180 miles back home wasn’t worth it.  Thanksgiving wasn’t that big a deal to me, everyone said if I changed my mind there would be plenty of food.  I was happy for the break.

The plan had been simple.  I had laid the hints left and right for two weeks about how I was going to spend the holiday by myself and that I would be open to doing something differently if invited.  In my retraction of the dinner with family offer I had left clues that maybe I wanted to spend it with someone else and wanted the flexibility to do that.

The night before I made a few pies.  Some for my parents to take with them, one for the neighbors, and one just in case that opportunity to dine came my way.  All of them apple, my personal favorite.

As Thanksgiving Day progressed I had gotten up, gone for a run, played with the dog and generally made myself available via phone should it ring.  Minutes became hours and hours kept passing by.  Well, I wasn’t going to let my baking go to waste so I drove over to the young lady in questions house and told her that I had made this for her family.  I waved as people stared at me through the window and I got back into my car and drove home.

That’s when the phone rang.  “My mother wanted to know why you didn’t stay longer.”

“Well, the invitation never came.  So I felt awkward enough without knowing what I was doing there in the first place.”

The conversation was weird because my feelings were pretty hurt by this point and I didn’t really want to say that.  In my family we pretty much have always planned on a random two or three people showing up at the very last minute, so food was always over-flowing the tables.  The joke was that those not wanting to spend it with their family could spend it with mine?!!!  [There was a Christmas where we had my brother’s girlfriend of the time come for dinner.  Her family is Jewish and her father was convinced we were going to try to convert her.  About the only thing Christian that day was a simple prayer before the meal!]

I had thought it clear, “Hey, I would really like to spend some time with you today.”  I guess sometimes you have to say those exact words for someone to understand.

A little while later there was a knock at the back door and there was a plate of food being held by a very nervous person.  I was still a little fuming since like I had stated, my feelings were rather hurt.  I’ll admit to basically inhaling the bounty before me since I hadn’t eaten much that day.

It took me a little while before I could look her in the eyes and tell her how confused I was.  Even the people in the office had not made an offer for dinner because they knew why I was blowing off others that day.  It wasn’t like we hadn’t been dating for over two years at this point.

My mom called me later that night  just to let me know that they had made the journey home safely and that my aunt wanted me to come visit soon.  There was the obvious gentle prying mothers attempt to gain some insight into how my day had gone.  Her 34 year old son had picked someone over his own mother for the holiday, curiosity about how things went was only natural.

I didn’t tell her the truth.  In fact she only learned about it years later when the relationship had ended.

That is the story of the first Thanksgiving I spent with the ex.  It was horrible and I carried that resentment through Christmas where I didn’t pass up on invitations from others.  I couldn’t bear the thought of reliving that experience again.  The anger, hurt, and just general disappointment was something I had never felt before.


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