- The turkey hits low, right in your gut.
- The mashed potatoes line your esophagus, your stomach, and possibly your lungs, depending on how quickly you scarfed them.
- The stuffing rises in your stomach, stopping just under your adam’s apple if you’re lucky. The onion fumes coming out of your mouth make you tear up.
- The cloyingness of the cranberry sauce lingers at the back of your mouth and begins the sugar headache that dessert will capitalize on.
- The sweet potato casserole ramps that up, and the marshmallows get stuck in your teeth.
- The casseroles rise, the butter floating around the back of your mouth.
- The gravy seeps into all of it, solidifying your body into a concrete mass of food.
You fumble with a few plates, praying that the bathroom opens up soon. Uncle RJ and a few cousins go outside for a smoke and you feel cold air knife through the swelter of the yellow heat of the kitchen and into your lungs and you wish you smoked.
And then desert arrives. You feel obligates to try each dish of course. You can no longer taste anything, nor can you remember chewing. You funnel spiced custard down your gullet into some land apart from your own. Coffee keeps your arms moving but they tremble at the elbows. Your chest hurts and you think of wires and bellows and springs.
In the rumpus room, Grandpa Albert eats the whole fruitcake by himself, lifting each slice to his mouth with a quavering hand. His lap is covered in crumbs and his face smiles benignly. You remember sledding with him. He does not.