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A Nantucket Thanksgiving Weekend

Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 |

A Nantucket Thanksgiving Weekend

A short story that may or may not be fiction.
It definitely took place on Nantucket many years ago.

“I don’t believe in love.

“I don’t believe in romance.

“And I sure as hell don’t believe in marriage,” said my childhood friend at the tender age of 22.

“The only thing men are good for is bursting the fragile bubble surrounding your sorry state of self-esteem. They butter you up. They tell you you’re pretty. They lead you on with stellar promises and then cheat at the first opportunity.”

We clinked glasses, sloshing a little of the Oktoberfest beer we made the bartender pull from the back room. It was well past October, but it was my favorite beer and I was the bartender’s favorite client of the moment.

The rich sound of laughter and conversation filled the packed bar. It was a sound that didn’t hurt your ears. It was a sound that made you stop and look through the front door even if you had no intention of deviating from your destination. It’s a sound that won’t let you walk by, not on a holiday weekend. It was the sound of people having a really good time. It was a destination for everyone.

It was Thanksgiving weekend on Nantucket, my favorite time of year. People schlep from all over to meet up with old friends and family. We eat and drink a lot. We always have a really good time.

My friend Chloe had arrived two days ago from our hometown in Minnesota. Her parents were somewhere in Morocco in the midst of a year-long trip around the world, so I commandeered her to join me and my family for the holidays.

We had both graduated from college six months earlier. Neither of us had real jobs yet, but Chloe was probably the most ambitious friend I had. Ever since she was five or six, she knew she wanted to live in New York City and ride up and down in elevators. Management consulting would be her thing. She would travel the world, wear beautiful suits, own really expensive pearls.

“How can you not believe in love?” I queried.

“It’s messy and distracting. It kills your focus. It gets in the way. And besides, how can you trust a man?”

The third beer went down nicely. And then another round magically just appeared. Uh oh, I thought. The dynamics are about to change.

And they did. Mark sidled right up to Chloe with a giant, crap-eating grin. His messy blond hair glittered in the soft, ambient light. His rough hands wrapped around a Budweiser. His big, blue eyes were fixed on poor Chloe. She didn’t stand a chance.

They left the bar together an hour later.

They eloped exactly thirteen weeks after that. Chloe traded in her dream of seeing the world for sleeping with Mark on his scalloping boat. Her cashmere and diamonds went into storage. Her parents went into a rage all the way from Victoria Falls.

The following year, Chloe and I got together the day after Thanksgiving at the same bar. We had some serious catching up to do on the radical change of direction her life had taken.

“I don’t believe in love,” she said.

“What?” I snapped.

“I believe in crazy, no holds-barred, pull out all the stops, blind, psycho, completely over the top happiness that you can only get from finding true love.”

And so the story goes. May you all find someone or something that makes you believe.

A Nantucket Thanksgiving 2012

Nantucket Thanksgiving tradition: cold turkey plunge 2012
A Nantucket tradition: the cold turkey plunge at Children’s Beach

Nantucket Thanksgiving tradition: cold turkey from the plunge 2012
The actual turkey who always shows up at the plunge

A holiday wreath on a Nantucket door on Orange Street
A holiday wreath on a door on Orange Street, Nantucket

A letter basket on Orange Street, Nantucket
A letter basket attached to a shingle wall on Orange Street, Nantucket

The tree lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving on Nantucket
The tree lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving on Nantucket

The tree lighting ceremony the day after Thanksgiving on Nantucket
The tree at the Pacific National Bank on Main Street, Nantucket

A girl with a beer
Beer and a bar on Nantucket