Updated: Jun 2
“Last call for passengers boarding ‘Flight 203’ I repeat, last call for passengers boarding ‘Flight 203.’”
My ears burst when the announcer speaks through the microphone. A collection of blaring noises come out of the exit gate as I bend down to take my water bottle from my Spongebob backpack. As I look back up to civilization, I notice a man next to me. He has his hair up in a bun, and is wearing normal clothes like any other human being, but there is something so intimidating, yet fascinating about him, that I just cannot quite guess.
“May I help you with anything?” the man asks.
“Uh… me? N-no, sir, thank you. Why do you ask?”
“Well, for one thing, you were staring right at me for 2 minutes straight, and then mumbled ‘Why does he look different?’, and when I turned around, your eyes were so wide, I could stuff a turkey,” the man chuckled, laughing at his own joke, “Do you get it? It’s a pun! You know, because today is Thanksgiving? Never mind, I’m sorry.”
The man turned back to himself and started scrolling through his phone to look distracted, but I could sense the embarrassment on his face.
“It’s not your fault, Mr..?”
“Mr. Akikta. I should be the one apologizing. It’s just - you look so uniquely different. I’m sorry I shouldn't say that.”
“No no, it’s fine. Is it how I look?”
“I don’t know… are you a filippino?”
He laughs subtly, “No, no I’m not a filippino. I’m a native american.”
“A native american? What’s that? Is that in South america?”
But he doesn't answer my question. Rather, he asks me a completely unrelated one.
“What is Thanksgiving?”
“I’m sorry, what? How is that related?”
“Just answer me, and you will know. What does Thanksgiving mean to you?”
“Well, that’s easy. Thanksgiving is a day when you are thankful for all of the happiness in life and your family, and it’s the day you get to eat a lot, especially Turkey!”
He chuckles, leaving me a little offended.
“Am I wrong? Why are you laughing?”
“Oh no you’re not wrong, it’s just… do you want to hear a story?”
He changed the topic. Again. What is with this man? As I roll my eyes, I see an eerie, blue hooded figure. I think it’s a lady, but it could also be one of the demons I was battling yesterday in my dreams. I turn back to the man, a little scared, because I don’t have my lazer dart gun with me right now.
“In the September of 1620, a ship, the Mayflower, left a place called Plymouth in England, while carrying nearly 102 passengers. These passengers were lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After 66 days, these passengers dropped an anchor near the tip of a place, now called Cape Cod. 30 days later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. 5 months later, some of the settlers moved ashore, where they received a visit from an Abenaki Native American who greeted them, surprisingly, in English. A couple of days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of another tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery. Squanto had taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants, even though he was weakened by malnutrition and illness. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans. This is why Thanksgiving exists. It’s to say thanks to the native americans, for without them, we wouldn’t be here, sitting in such a civilised and sophisticated place. And as for the Turkey, we don’t exactly know what they ate for their first Thanksgiving meal, but all I know is that I'm perfectly fine with the food we have today!"
I chuckle, “Woah. I didn’t know it means so much!”
“It meant so much. How many people do you think actually care about who we are or why they should be thankful?”
Just then a man with no soul walks by and shouts an indeginious stereotype at poor Mr. Akikta.
“Move your little redskin body, savage indian.”
After he leaves I feel terrible, so by instinct, I apologise.
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Akikta! I didn’t know it was so hard for you!”
Without realising it, I find myself wrapped around him, giving him a warm hug.
“Thank you, kid, it means a lot.”
“No, thank you.”