Olive Branches, Chapter 15

This chapter was written by Sci_geeek!

Wednesday, September 9 – Hannah Perales

I celebrate Thanksgiving twice a year. Once in October, of course. Then in November. 

Some people tell me it’s so cool (or weird; depends on who’s saying it) that I have two Thanksgivings, but it really isn’t very special at all. We just fly to Georgia, where my mom grew up, and spend a few days with her side of the family. Her side of the family is full of doting aunts who call everyone “dear” and cousins who like to make fun of me – “C’mon, say ‘house’ for us one more time?” – and of course, the stereotypical “racist uncles.”

Quite obviously, I have that extra dreaded Thanksgiving because my mom is American. Well, I am too, but I’ve lived in Canada most of my life, so I don’t really feel very American anymore – except on Fourth of July when my mom and I torment our poor, ever-so-patient neighbours by shooting fireworks from our driveway at night. Ah, the thrill! Claire Parson hates me for it. Why’d I have to be neighbors with that snob, anyway?

Why am I mentioning a Thanksgiving in November when it’s barely September? Well you see, family is very important to my mom – my dad too, but his only family member left is his mom who’s still in Venezuela. And there’s no way we could go there safely – it’s extremely dangerous and Communism-torn, not to mention the Venezuelan government has something against Americans.

It’s ironic though – about family being so important to my parents. Ahem, who are the ones who are at work almost all day, leaving me to be the latchkey kid? And who are the ones who are getting a divorce?

Now I’m at home, in the section of my room that has newspaper strewn all over the floor and my art supplies on a shelf against the wall. A big, empty canvas stands on my easel, as does my phone. I’m on a video call with my cousin Darby.

“Where are you now?” she asks me.

“At my house,” I answer.

“Wait, can you say that again?”

I play dumb. “Say what again?”

“Or say ‘outside.’ Yeah, say ‘outside.’”

Seriously, what’s that fascination with the way I say the “ou” sound?

I change the subject. “Have you started school already?” I ask. Darby’s going into eighth grade this year.



“What are you doing right now?”


“By the way, I can only see your shirt, can you move your phone so I can see your face? Oh thanks. So what are you painting?”

“I don’t know.” And I don’t. The canvas is still empty. Is there an artist’s equivalent for writer’s block? 

My phone dings, and when I check it, it’s a notification. DK Laurier sent you a message. I stiffen. I’m still kind of mad at her.

But I still go to my texts, barely hearing Darby’s annoying questions in the background.

Y’know, I might as well text her back. Keeps my mind off Darby’s high-pitched voice.

Hannah Perales: hey

DK Laurier: Sup??????

Hannah Perales: video calling one of my cousins 😑

DK Laurier: Ooh ooh

Ella is in her twenties, and all my friends know her because she sometimes comes to visit me.

Hannah Perales: no, you don’t know her. her name’s darby

DK Laurier: Wut’s she like???

Hannah Perales: like ella, just younger and lazy and she makes fun of me like my other cousins

DK Laurier: Ugh

                     Hey btw

                     Did u block me?!?! Duuuuuuuuude y

Hannah Perales: block you??

DK Laurier: Yeah, from instagram. Like a month ago? 😕

Uh oh. I should have known Dee-Kay would wonder – she may be a daredevil, but she’s no knucklebrain. And she’s right about this. I blocked her and some other people including other friends and classmates because I’m afraid they’ll find out about the divorce through my posts. The fewer people who know about it, the better.

Hannah Perales: oh im so sorry if it came across that way! i deleted my ig cuz i was spending too much time on it.

DK Laurier: Y didn’t u tell me???

This calls for another lie.

Hannah Perales: didnt i, tho? yeah, i did.

Want some more irony? I value honesty and authenticity.

Hannah Perales: gtg, darby’s waiting

DK Laurier: Ok

                     C u

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Olive Branches, Chapter 15

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