David’s new life starts in 2020, and coincides with such loss. He and Sasha are married; their wedding was small and simple, accompanied by a promise to have a big celebration when their friends and family can gather safely again. He is amazed to find how comfortable it feels to let himself love her, and their child she carries. He finds it hard to remember how to hold himself separate from the life around him, as he used to.
All around them, people struggle. The pandemic rages. Small businesses fall like dying autumn leaves. His father has recovered, and is doing well, but those closest to Douglas realize he is not the same. There is a fragility about him now. Louise and David have grown close in their commitment to caring for Douglas; David is the one person who knows how much she misses her sister, Penelope. He is grateful that Louise has taken Sasha under her wing. He knows his wife has a fragility, too, born not of sickness but of deep insecurity.
They are managing, and David realizes that managing is more than enough. His old appetite for success, control, domination, is gone. He feels so grateful to be able to let all that go.
Early each morning, he gathers with the crew, and they box up food to distribute. One morning, he realizes, this is Thanksgiving. The holiday has snuck up on him. Should we have turkeys? He wonders, idly, knowing it’s too late to add them to the boxes anyway.
On his way to meet the crew, he navigates his bicycle through several street corner demonstrations. They’ve been out ever since the election, dwindling, but persistent. At first, he was frightened. He thought they might stop him, or harass the crew. The worst he’s experienced, though, is a steady glare over the masks and under the hoodies. He smiles under his mask, waves, rides on.
As always, Franny is there already, bundled up against the cold. She greets him with an air hug, and they start organizing the boxes. Leo arrives last, as always. Although the two of them live together, they still travel separately, a consequence of Franny’s need to be early and Leo’s habit of losing track of something he needs right before he leaves. They keep the peace by moving in their own rhythms, and David admires this.
“Should we have turkeys?” Leo asks.
The crew laughs. “Well,” Leo says. “It is Thanksgiving.”
“Maybe tomorrow,” David acknowledges. “Let’s go.”
They ride out. David gives thanks as he goes, for them, for his new life, for the chance to make a difference.