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Short Stories

Gone Are the Marigolds

Soon as I plunged the electric knife into its breast, I sneezed on the turkey and everyone groaned. All I wanted was to have this moment. These last six summers it’d be just me and my wife Amy. But having everyone at the table again after Mark left, well, it almost felt like we were a family once more.

Most families share funny stories, catch up on what’s new, argue over nonsense, and reminisce on old times. A lot of the latter part occurred from my Great Aunt Melonni, Pops, grandma and other grandma. Times where maybe only one person might cough and sniffle at the table because they caught their allergies late, and they’d turn away to be polite. Nowadays in spring and summer, everyone walked with sullen looks and heavy cheeks, too busy sneezing to really speak.

Seemed like everyone adjusted on their own. Pops belted grace over the hacking and sneezing. Instead of passing the salt we passed tissues; the kids reached over each other to snatch one. I grabbed my napkin and paused. I locked eyes with my sister Rose. She blinked away tears and nodded at me, and I wiped the top of the turkey as best I could.

Mark was the real cook. My miserable attempt wasn’t going to give them back the home as they used to know it. When Mark was here, grandma and other grandma would sit out back and watch the garden of orange marigolds they had planted years past. Pops used to play with Rose and the kids, chasing them around with his drones. But Mark went away and took the marigolds with him, and all the fields of summers past. Green faded away, leaving only the swollen yellow sun and our red, congested faces.

Summer’s still here, but it’s way too hot to play anymore. Mark left, the marigolds left, even the monarchs left. But summer stayed, year round, and roasted us all better than I roasted this damn bird.

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