Today, I'd like to continue my tradition of offering my Thanksgiving-Eve short story. This started as a fiction journal piece titled "The Long Way Home" a few years ago, but was one of those lucky stories to get "elevated" to publication in Alive - Slice of Life Vignettes last year. I hope you enjoy it.
Stay safe. I thank all of you for your friendship, and hope you have a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving.
Casey looked up from her computer at the secretary shifting from one foot to another. “How does traffic look out there?” The front office window of their small loan company was off a frontage road overlooking the Interstate.
“They cleared up that wreck from this morning. It’s not backed up anymore, but it’s heavy.”
Casey glanced at the clock on her computer, which read three o’clock. “Do you have any more paperwork for the day?”
Casey picked up her pen and tapped it against her desk. “Are you heading out of town for Thanksgiving?”
“Yes ma’am. My car is packed, and I’m ready to go as soon as the workday ends,” Penny said.
Casey craned her neck to stare at the crawling traffic outside the front window. “Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Go see your family.”
Penny’s eyes widened. “Are you sure? Aren’t we supposed to stay open until five o’clock?”
Casey shook her head. “The CEO said we can close at four if we don’t get any walk in customers, and I doubt that will happen given the looks of things out there. Go ahead. I can hold it down for an hour. Fill out your timesheet for the full day and get on the road before it gets worse.”
“Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!” Penny gushed.
“Happy Thanksgiving. Safe travels. I’ll see you next week.”
Casey sighed as Penny gathered her things and left the office. She was lucky that her family was in town and she didn’t have to travel for Thanksgiving, but she’d already had her nerves worn raw. Her parents had called three times and her in-laws texted her twice about the dishes they were bringing for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Her husband had called thirty minutes ago to say the kids were restless, so he was dragging out the Christmas decorations to keep them occupied, against her wishes to wait until Friday to decorate. Now she had to go home and clean up after that on top of rustling up supper and starting to cook her dishes for tomorrow. Her best friend called her office line over lunch freaking out over her in-laws crashing in her home and “taking over.” It was going to be long weekend, but at least she and her family were local.
They would make it. They always did, and this year would be no different. They would probably enjoy the chaos, too.
Casey shook it off and returned to her paperwork. Truthfully, the CEO said she could leave now too, but she wanted to embrace one more hour of peace before the holidays started. There was plenty of time for family fun. For now, she could wrap up her workload in peace and go into the holidays with her mind clear of work issues. She’d enjoy this blessing before going home to another one soon.
Given that traffic, she should probably order a pizza for supper and take the back roads home. It was a shortcut supper and the long way home, but maybe it would be worth a few more minutes of peaceful preparation for the most wonderful time of the year.