by Sarah Noell
Cramped in the back of Kelly’s car, we were on our way to a dinner party. I pulled at my black tights, making them see-through enough to be high-fashion. I reconsidered and decided corduroy was the farthest thing from high-fashion and readjusted the mashed potato bowl that sat heavily on my ribbed skirt. Pushed together, Tom’s leg was up against mine, his simple maroon complementing my multi-faceted try-hard Thanksgiving’s finest. His long arms rested on the giant salad bowl. He reached in every so often to pick out the tomatoes, sneaking them in the dark of the car.
The dinner party was a potluck. Family-less, or with family too far, we made due in our displacement.
On the other side of Tom, Laura sat with her bangs on the window, sleepy from Saturdays, the garlic bread warming her bare thighs, her tall socks covering just past her knees. Kelly took the turns we were familiar with. Her boyfriend, nameless, sat in the front, carrying nothing with an eternity of leg room. The hill was steep and there may have been ice, but Kelly took that last corner like it was summer. My shoulder was pushed hard against the door, Tom’s weight pulling on my constructed hair. He leaned in to apologize for taking up such space, kissing me on the cheek. A simple kiss, a plucked up apology, a condolence from a lover lasting longer than it should have because at that moment Kelly screamed and swerved and Thanksgiving took flight in the boxy Toyota.
We were in the air, all five of us, spinning. Tom’s face still on mine, mashed potatoes taking Rorschach shape in the air, Lauren’s eyes wide among floating garlic bread. My knees neared my face, my tights, my corduroy, my pinned hair pleated with potatoes. We landed on our heads and spun on the ice, Tom’s limp neck still draped on mine. Lauren’s moans silenced by salad tossed. Kelly, asleep at the wheel, hair hanging towards the top of the car. Me, crushed in corduroy.