Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all have a great day! Great food and great socialization are soon to come. And good luck to y’all who are hosting this year.
I wrote No Thanksgiving on Jupiter last Friday. My English class did a group writing project in which we had to incorporate a series of words. They were Thanksgiving-type words, so most people came up with funny, wonky Thanksgiving stories. All on Earth, of course.
But when I looked over the list of words, a different ides formed in my head. Thanks to Alondra, Jouldan, and Emily for helping me with this story!
[I know there’s no surface on Jupiter, but bear with me]
No Thanksgiving on Jupiter
I walk to the small window of my highly manufactured living pod. The colors of Jupiter are astonishing. The wind kicks up dust and I can’t help but remember life from before my exile.
I used to live in America; on Earth. Life there was amazing. I lived with my perpetually sleepy grandmother. We would tell stories, braid each other’s matching brown hair, and just have a great time. If only it could have lasted. I just wanted to fix the world so badly. But I tried too hard. And now I am here.
So, I live alone on a gas giant far from earth. I shake my head and sigh. I then stuff myself into a space suit and head toward the outer door. As I near the exit, a metallic arm juts out in front of me.
“Juno! Just what do you think you’re doing?” asks a tinny voice. Okay, I don’t live completely alone. I have a C3PO type robot who helps me out. But the company of an AI just isn’t the same as a human.
I push away the arm and huff. “I’m going for a walk.”
“All right, but the storms are kicking up out there. Be careful.”
“Don’t worry Angela, I’ll be fine.” I push a button to open the first door and slam it behind me before I can hear Angela’s reply.
After going through another door, I step onto the surface. I stare out at the barren wasteland and sigh. I miss my home planet. Everything there became something I depended on. From my family, to friends, to grumpy neighbors who never had anything nice to say.
I grunt and slam my boot against the hard ground (Yes, ground. Jupiter isn’t all gas, you know.). Why did they have to exile me? It’s not my fault I’m so quirky. But, eccentricity isn’t appreciated there. I focus on the reflection of my green eyes in the mask of my helmet. They hate green on earth. It reminds them of how they are ruining the environment.
I shake my head and drop my eyes to view the ground. The reds and oranges below my feet remind me of fall laves back home. I wonder what season it is. Fall was always my favorite. Out of all the things I don’t have anymore, I miss Thanksgiving the most. I can almost hear the turkey calling my name, with my grandmother’s special sauce that I haven’t had in years. Has it really been that long? I honestly don’t know anymore.
But the friends and family made thanksgiving the most special. So, thank God, I am able to talk to them once a year. Every Thanksgiving, I catch up with my loved ones with an extremely long-distance Face Time.
A voice in my helmet takes me out of my trance. “The winds are worsening,” Angela says. As if on cue, a blast of air nearly nocks me over. “We don’t want you getting caught out in a storm.”
I press a button near my chin to reply. “Definitely not.” You’ve never seen a real storm until you’ve seen one on Jupiter. They’re insane. The winds are stronger than any hurricane.
As I walk back to my living pod, my mind travels back to my last Thanksgiving on Earth. After the meal, my family, friends, and I sat on a log and named the things we were thankful for. The birds chirping their goodnight song by the frosty river made the night a memorable one. But all of that is lost now. I can’t believe I took so many things for granted. I don’t even have natural water here. All I have left is the shadow that follows me though the day and clings to me late into the night. And the once-per-earth-year Face Times. How I wish I could change my past.
I enter my living pod and remove my space suit. I cross the room and open the door to a small box that provides my food. They beam it here from earth, I suppose. Why they keep me alive, though, I have no idea.
I look down to see what they have sent me for dinner today. “Turkey!” My exclamation is loud enough to be heard throughout the entire capsule. Although freeze-dried, the food means the same thing to me. “Angela, get over here!”
Angela appears almost immediately. “Yes Juno?”
My grin must be reaching my ears. “Look!” I say, pointing to the metallic packaging. “Turkey!”
Angela apparently doesn’t get the memo.
“That means you get to see your family, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah!” Before Angela can reply, I grab a food tray and skip to the computer. As soon as I sit down, I rip open the foil and dump the contents of the pouch onto the tray – turkey, stuffing, and sliced potatoes, all freeze-dried. I fumble to find the code on the inside of the wrapper. It will contain the password for me to log on to Face Time. They’re always changing it so I can’t contact anyone when I’m not allowed.
I quickly turn on the computer and log on. I then type in my grandmother’s username, which I have memorized by heart. I glance down at my outfit as I wait for an answer. I am wearing a wrinkled shirt with the letter Pi on it; hardly elegant enough for the occasion.
My call is finally answered and I am greeted by a sea of warm, familiar faces. My smile grows by the second. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends are all there. The scene is perfect. I just wish I could be there in person. Everyone says “Hi,” and I say “Hi,” back.
I miss earth food, fun, interesting conversation, and loved ones. I love all the holidays, don’t get me wrong, but Thanksgiving is my favorite. Probably because I got all of those things. I chew on a piece of turkey and try to keep a straight face.
I have tears in my eyes now. All of the merriment, the love, that used to be mine. My loved ones are so close, yet so far. I place a hand on the screen and let the tears flow freely. “I love you,” I say loud enough for all to hear. Despite the upset faces, I end the call. I can’t stand seeing them yet not being there. I lean onto the tabletop and sob.
I’m so upset that I don’t get Thanksgiving on Jupiter.