Thanksgiving. It never meant much because he never had much to be thankful for. It was hard when everything that was his just suddenly wasn’t anymore. Moving from one foster home to another, Jamison rarely had a moment to stop to be grateful for anything that he had. After all, there was always some sort of problem or some magical reason why he had to go back into the system again. It happened time and time again, and had become so repetitive that he had gotten used to the guilt and shame that followed suit shortly thereafter. “He was too rowdy,” they’d say. He’d get into squabbles at school at the playground, mostly because kids his age didn’t know any better and bullied him for not having a “real” mommy or daddy. Petty things that would usually set him off and make him react, and for good reason too. Jamison had it in his file: “Angry.” “Uncontrollable.” “Violent.” They weren’t entirely false ways to describe him, but it was most definitely an undeserved reputation that he had gained for himself after being exposed to vicious cycles of abuse from those around him who were supposed to care and protect him in the first place. Jamison was thrown into situations where step-siblings were hateful and jealous, purposely taunting him to the point where he could no longer keep his mouth shut or his hands pinned back at his sides. It wasn’t his fault. Not really. The seed had already been planted. It just took more to make it grow. Time was not kind to him, at least not in the beginning, and other factors helped with that too, leaving him restless in the entire process of it all. If life was a test, Jamison was always getting bad marks.

Still, there was only one family that ever made him value the holiday and the concept behind it. And, really, Jamison should have at least felt grateful to them, but he had hardened over the years. Anything that had ever seemed good just seemed too good to be true in his eyes. He had built himself up from all the wreckage, vowing to never give anyone else the opportunity to get close to him to hurt him all over again. The cycle needed to end somewhere, and while it wasn’t a very wise solution, it still served its purpose and got the job done. Jamison learned to move on with his life, pushing the pain and the abuse and all the hatred that followed along with it down, burying it deep within himself. It would surface all over again when Jason decided to show up during those rare monthly occurrences though, begging Jamison to split and spill and bring out his inner demons so that Jason could use them as motivation to go on instead. It was another cycle of abuse in and of itself, though ironic and amusing to say the least. Jamison didn’t seem to mind though. Not anymore, anyways.

Every now and then, when the sun hits the leaves just right and gives them their shimmer of light and coat of yellow, Jamison remembers that family. They aren’t quite as lost to the past as he would like; seeing them there, back in Boston, where he grew up. He can hear the voice of his foster father, the only man who came close enough to making Jamison feel like he belonged somewhere. If he stops to think about it long enough, a sense of anger inevitably sets in. Not because he did not enjoy his time with them, but because he did. But those memories now are only distant echoes of a time long ago; of a once happy boy playing and laughing, and feeling welcomed and loved. Despite the short amount of time that he had with them, Jamison thinks that perhaps, just maybe he’s a little grateful to that feeling after all.