A bit later this week, Thanksgiving comes for part of my family. For myself and my Eternal, Thanksgiving was marked a bit earlier in the year, but that is a quirk of how things are. Still, the thing about Thanksgiving is that one should, always, have something to be …
There are many days which the Realm’s calendar celebrates through the year, days marked for moments which have special note. Each of them is unique and singular in its appearance. Each, that is, save for one. For, in the Realm, there are two Thanksgivings to be celebrated every year.
Perhaps it is more accurate to say that there is the Thanksgiving which is marked because of a certain monarch’s adoration of a certain country; red, as an aside, has a lot to do with that adoration—the snow and hockey is a side benefit … supposedly. And then there is the Thanksgiving that is something a bit more unique.
As the nights turn colder and the snows start to whisper upon the winds, there is a day set aside when, for the monarchs of the Realm, thanks is to be given. While elsewhere there are many enjoying a turkey coma or preparing for the mad rush of the following day to shop until they drop, this Thanksgiving of the Realm isn’t that.
Formality isn’t part of the event, nor is there ceremony, nor programs, nor announcements made. While the entire Realm knows of the day, it is assumed that things work out as they do with the first Thanksgiving being held and many express that thanks similarly. There are gatherings where many congregate, a special time where those that missed the first can refresh their ties, tell of the year past, and express their hopes and more for the future.
One might think of it as a makeup holiday, or perhaps a backup plan should they miss out on the first celebration held. Thankfully the meals are made anew as, generally, most delectables would be somewhat stale by the time of the second celebration. Some are lucky enough to celebrate both days, having decided that two thanksgivings are better then a single one alone. This is now the expected understanding, the belief that has become, overall, what is expected. However, there is another aspect of this second moment of thankfulness that few have witnessed or understood.
That thanks begins with a certain Queen with hair of ebony and horns of red, locating a specific book in the home she dwells in with her Eternal. The book is dog-eared, having been passed down through generations before. Leafing through the pages, she sees the cursive script of those she thinks of often: a mother she knew for a flicker of time; a grandmother who held her in the after. Another page turned and the precise handwriting of her aunt, the one that Tera takes her fashion sense from, appears. About the middle of the collected thoughts, writing in red appears, having made a series of notes; Tera, of course, holds those mulling thoughts in high esteem, for the writer of these points, after all, knows of what he speaks. Lines upon lines of commentary flow over the pages, distant hands in time reaching out through the yellowing paper to the present. They tell of the secrets, lessons learned, experiments made. Trials of this idea or that thought, some which were perfect, others a bit less so.
From the description, one might think the book holds a secret, and they would be right in that. But it isn’t the secret of some part of the Realm, nor an explanation of the mysteries of the succubi and incubi. It’s a far more important, and dearly treasured, secret.
If there is one passion, outside of … passion … that is adored by the Queen, it is the delight she has in gathering the ingredients needed, the utensils required, and settling them upon the countertop within her cherished refuge from the world. For when Tera is baking, and it is a cheesecake … well, one does not interrupt an artist at her craft.
As she carefully constructs her delight, the bemused red-tail cannot help the smile which comes in knowing that cheesecake has several different meanings. There’s a particular sparkle in her so-green eyes that comes when she mentions cheesecake to some and the recipient seems to be expecting something far more erotic than what is offered. It’s a shame, really, because there’s delight in the exquisite texture and taste in these confections she creates. Cheesecake is, after all, such a suggestive word at times, whether or not one is paying attention to her words while being held by her so-green eyes.
Her Eternal wanders in from time to time, being sure not to disturb his raven beauty’s concentration. Still, in spite of himself, he does hold a can of Redi-Whip, which happens to be in the way as he looks through the fridge. But his Queen is on a mission, and a wave of a batter-covered wooden spoon gives warning. The reply is, of course, a promise that when her baking is done, he’ll be doing something with that spoon and the creamy delight to a certain red-tail’s red tail.
Tera tries—really, she does—not to rush things too much. The recipe is very clear on that point. The crust must be made perfectly, the filling as well. The cherries must be made into the perfect sauce, of an exact colour. Cheesecake, as she is wont to say, is both pleasing to the eyes and to the palate.
As noon arrives, the preparation is complete. The cheesecake rests in the fridge, Redi-Whip having been removed to make room for it. What happens with the wooden spoon and the cream of delight is something best left to the imagination, though it may well involve the Redi-Whip, which cannot be left to get warm, after all.
Still, the time comes when a mane of wild ebony hair needs to be tamed, if slightly. There’s no need for anything formal, neither Eternal dressed up more than sweaters and jeans. There’s no travel involved, for the invitations are for always on this day. Keith’s time has been spent putting the rest of their home into place, the cheesecake having its place upon the dessert table. There is some fretting, of course, from the Queen, making sure that everything is in its place and every place has its thing.
Then, in the mid-afternoon, their family arrives. The fence gives way to a door to allow her heart and his beloved to appear. Song comes, as does Tera’s angel. A brother from far away appears, sisters from an island far away. A cloaked figure slips in, there to watch, to be there. Family both near and far, some seen often, others but once in a blue moon. Aunts and uncles, some with hockey on their minds, pop in soon after. The home fills with the light of family and the love shared with all. Each comes with her or his own moment to be shared, the thanks to be given.
In all of the moments shared and thanks given, there comes a moment when Tera’s offering is divided. To be given, freely. With each slice served, as each soul touches the plate Tera holds, she gives thanks. Her thanks are for a Goddess of light that created this family, a mother that brought her into being and another that did the impossible. Her thoughts are thanks for her heart, her song, an angel that loves her, a brother she holds dearly. She gives thanks for her sister, for all of those that she calls her family and that hold her in that same love.
Before the party ends, there is one part of this Thanksgiving that seems a bit like a ceremony, a bit like tradition: as the guests depart, they each write a small note in the book. Those greetings and memories—and the occasional suggestion about the colour of the cherry sauce—help Her Majesty be inspired for the next Thanksgiving.
There’s always one slice left, one bit of the offering left, when all are enjoying the fruits of her offering. It’s the final piece, the one that she drizzles some cherry sauce over. The one that she carries over to her Eternal to be shared with him.
There are many reasons to give thanks on this day, but the most important of all is to be giving thanks for the love of a family, love that lives in the day, in the book, in the dessert.
For that thanks is forever given.