For the first time in years, Mitch didn’t have concrete plans for Thanksgiving, which thrilled him.
He had little attachment to the holiday as it was, but being forced to dress up and drive into Manhattan to eat with Calvin’s parents and watch football wasn’t his idea of a good time. Or worse, when they’d go to the Hamptons to visit Calvin’s grandparents, where they subjected him to thinly veiled barbs about everything, from their relationship to his class status. Before Calvin, he used to spend the long weekend with his uncle and aunt; neither celebrated, but each year they took a trip to Montreal and either stayed at a ski resort or with Marie’s parents.
They still invited Mitch along every time, and this year was no exception to that. However, he declined, but promised that he’d visit soon. He was still a little too raw, a little too off, to be comfortable with their gentle questions and concerns about his life.
But it wasn’t long before he was handed two options, which he attempted to reconcile at the last possible second. The first was to spend the day with Jodie, since she went all out with providing a feast for those that didn’t have anyone to share a meal with. Considering her background, she wasn’t fond of Thanksgiving either, but since she started Monster Mash and accumulated all types of the vagabonds without families of their own, she was compelled to take action.
Normally she held a buffet style dinner at the school, then set up a multitude of board games to play as well as a projector to watch movies. Sometimes enough people brought sleeping bags and air mattresses, turning it into a huge slumber party, and in the morning they’d all hit up the diner across the street for breakfast.
But the school’s heater went out a few days beforehand, and needed to be repaired. Since a technician wasn’t available until the Monday after the holiday to work on it, Jodie went back and forth between hosting it at the house or at the brewery; ultimately, she didn’t want to risk serving food without a license and get in trouble. Could they fit around 20 people into a duplex? According to her, they were going to find out.
His other option was to spend the day with Toby, who spent the day alone after cutting ties with his family in Indiana. Toby’s plan was to gorge on sushi in Cambridge, “like old times”. Naturally, he wanted Mitch to be his date, and even went so far as to look up places with vegan offerings. Mitch insisted that it didn’t have to be vegan, but Toby was persistent.
What Mitch actually wanted to do was take a trip to the ocean when no one else was around, let the salty air deep into his pores and lungs, and be reminded that life was so much bigger than him and his problems. He also very much needed to confront his fears before they consumed him altogether, because recently he’d been plagued with reoccurring nightmares about drowning, which caused him to wake up in a cold sweat. It’s been almost 15 years since he last experienced this, and he wasn’t a fan (nor was Jodie, who he’d woken up several times during these throes).
However, Thursday’s temperature was predicted to be in the single digits, so regardless he’d have to put it off for a day or two. Then again, he already re-arranged his current plans, so what was one more? Originally, he was set to train all weekend after being cleared to return to the ring, but with the school temporarily shut down, that opportunity shut down with it.
So a short Cape trip felt right, even with the frigid weather, but the expectations that others had for him needed to be addressed first. Armed with a list of reasons, he asked Jodie if Toby could join them: Toby didn’t have family to spend the day with so he qualified, and he and Jodie managed to co-exist the other night without everything descending into pandemonium. For good measure, Mitch bluffed about his intention to spend the day with Toby, and hinted that this was the only way she could ensure that he was also present for Thanksgiving dinner.
Jodie threw her arms up and called him a “fucking bastard”, then negotiated with terms of her own: not only would would he help her cook the entire day beforehand, but he was going to be in charge of the dishwasher on Thanksgiving. He agreed to this, and they shook on it.
Toby was a much easier sell. All Mitch had to do was say that he’d spend the night at his place if he did this. Without even the slightest reservation, Toby said that he was in.