It is, at least in this part of the universe, Thanksgiving. Being that it is, and this day tells of family, a short story today that speaks to that most of all … at least to me, at any rate.
To those that I love, so dearly, you have my …
The day broke upon the Realm with a golden-orange sun peeking out over the Lake of Fire. Overhead, thin wisps of cloud mixed with the light, turning shades of red that—if perhaps only a little bit so—had a familiar shade to them.
It was the fall. The trees had turned colour; shades of orange, red, and brown mixed in with the green that still remained. A crisp wind blew through the trees, making them shift, the occasional few leaves coming loose and fluttering through among the forests, over the paths, and along the boulevards and streets of the Realm while most still slept in their beds, tails entwined with one another, or cuddling with their pets. Of course, some were not so sleepy, for their fun and games were still going on from the night before.
Over near one particular home, a tall, ancient maple tree rustled in the winds, its leaves being shaken this way and that, until, at last, one single leaf broke from its stem and spun off into the winds. It moved this way and that until, pausing above the front steps of the home and fluttering downwards, it rested between two small, rather cute horns that were that familiar red that seemed to be appearing all through the Realm.
As a pair of so-green eyes looked up to see what had landed in her hair, a smile passed over her lovely red lips as she carefully tucked the leaf between her raven curls. Picking up her mug, Tera stood and looked out upon her Realm. After one last sip, placing the mug on the table there, she picked up a small stack of cards and placed them into the pocket of her so-very-familiar red jacket. A brush of her hand over her black fuzzy sweater and jeans, and she was off, her heels clicking on the sidewalks as she made her way.
Her only company as she walked through the Realm was the warmth of the sun, the dew on the grass, and the sounds of the winds flying around her. As she went about her way, she stopped here and there, placing a card in a mailbox here, tucking another into a window there. One pushed through a mail slot in a door, the occasional greeting given to a pet, thrall, or toy. The Queen made many stops that morning, until every card had been delivered, every note was given away, and all that she needed to do, on this day, was taken care of.
The sun had risen to about mid-day when she had completed her set task, pleased with herself for managing to do so and still have time to do the other thing she needed to accomplish. So she continued on her way, stopping to gather things on her list. It was a short list, one that she had learned and held tightly to for this day every year.
It was into the mid-afternoon as she made her way back home, and, along the way, found those for whom she had left cards waiting for her to appear. In each case, she smiled, hugged them with her tail and wished them her thanks and hopes before continuing.
Some asked to help, if she would allow, but, as was her way, she insisted that they look after themselves, their loves and lives, tor their doing so was the gift she cherished the most. That’s not to say that there weren’t some attempts to see what she was carrying, or to ask what she was up to, but, in every case, her reply was the same: a tap of a finger on the nosey nose, a wink, and a simple wish for the inquirer.
She came home in the late afternoon, walked into her home, to her Eternal, and, after pushing him out of her kitchen, set down her package and began the one thing she needed to do to complete the day. Soon there was the sound of something being sliced, of mixers mixing, and, occasionally, a puff of sugar or flour drifting out of her kitchen … which her Eternal would watch from just outside, knowing that this was all in answer to her needs calling to her, and knowing better than to get in the way.
As the sun began to dip towards the opposite horizon from where it rose, the aroma of something being baked came from her home, drifting over the Realm. A familiar bouquet, one that was well known, considering who was baking and what her particular scent was, after all. She rested now, watching her oven, sipping from her mug, and waiting. She brushed a hand through her hair, sure that it was a mess after the day, and stopping when she felt the leaf she had tucked there. Carefully slipping it out, she carried it out of the kitchen and into her private, if small, library.
A particular shelf held a particular book, waiting for her—one with many red maple leaves pressed between the pages, each one with a date written beside it. She added this new one, after which she put the book back and returned to her kitchen once more. The book glowed, slightly, the words on the cover telling of the secrets that the leaves represented.
She expected to see her Eternal in the kitchen, the oven opened, requiring her to tell him to close it again. He was there, smiling, waiting with a knife and a serving plate for her. But there was something more than that. You see, the cards had expressed, to each and every person they were given to, her thanks for being part of her family, her world, and more. They asked if the recipients might, if they wanted to, come visit her home, to share this day she thanked her family with her, also sharing in something she had made for them.
What she didn’t expect to find was that she wasn’t the only one that had been baking that day. There, sitting in the middle, was her own cherry pie, and all around it were all of the cakes and pies you could imagine, each and every one made by each of those that jammed into her kitchen, den, and up and down the stairs, with still more coming in the front door with every moment that passed by.
She smiled, shaking her head and trying to explain to them all that they had no need to, but they all smiled in a very familiar way in return before offering her pieces of their own creations. The day turned to night, the evening carrying the sounds of the mirth, love, and joy within the home that spilled out upon the surrounding lands. Within the home, light came anew, and, without, the night brought out the stars among the wisps of clouds.
The night closed with the last of the creations being enjoyed, hugs shared, and thanks given for always. When all was settled once more, she curled up on her sofa with her Eternal, watching the fireplace and its warm glow. As she drifted off to sleep, comfortable in the knowledge that her thanks were given, she was at peace with herself, for her hope in this day came true.
To give thanks is only part of the story. It is in loving while expecting nothing in return, asking for nothing more, that makes any day when thanks are given and love shared matter most of all.
And, along the way, love always seems to come back, many times over, and that love is sweeter, warmer, and more filling to our bodies and souls than any pie we might imagine …