Have you ever made a toast? I mean, a real one–not just “to us!” but a long, thought-out, possibly memorized speech. It’s an embarrassing prospect, especially for those who fear public speaking, but it’s also a nice idea, isn’t it? So I thought this year, though I won’t be standing up in my dining room making everyone listen to me prattle on, I’d write a toast–just for the heck of it. And then I thought it’d be more interesting to write a toast from one of my characters’ perspectives. Even if they, also, would never stand up and orate.

From the perspective of a highly introverted, possibly autistic sixteen-year-old girl, to her very large family on Thanksgiving:

We have a lot to be thankful for.

We are wealthy. Statistically speaking, anyway. The number of people living in our household might diminish our standing somewhat, but we have a house with heat and air conditioning. We all have beds and blankets and enough clothes to get us through the week without washing. We live in a good school district, and I know I’ve never been without a graphing calculator so we are well off. And we should say thank you.

I don’t know who we’re saying it to, exactly. We could get into theological arguments but I think, most immediately, I’m saying thanks to Dad and Mom, who earn the money and drive the cars and maintain the home. Mostly Dad, who some people would say is lucky but really he’s smart and that’s why we have what we have. And he’s generous. I don’t know why, exactly, and most of you should be grateful for that above anything else. More than I should be. After all, if he weren’t so generous, there wouldn’t be so many people here.

Don’t laugh, Chris. You know it’s true. I don’t mean it in a bad way, I just mean it. And I’m not angry. I could be. Lots of people would be. After all, more than half of this table really shouldn’t be here but they are and they’re lucky. Lucky to have Dad, lucky he’s so nice. Lucky he’s so smart and so nice all in one. Because most people wouldn’t be.

I wouldn’t be.

All right, I’ll sit down now. I guess that’s all I have to say.

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