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April 2018, vol 14 no 1

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Adelaide Shaw

Next Year

Saturday night. The ocean breeze, carries with it faint sounds and smells of the amusement park. Each step brings the young girl closer. The pungent stink of low tide, the high whistling sound of the calliope, cracks from the shooting gallery, fried clams and cotton candy, buttery popcorn, blinking lights. And. . . the crowd. The laughing, shouting, shrieking squeals of the crowd. Not the same crowd that comes in the afternoon. This is the time her older brother and sister come. “Just this one time,“ her father had said. “Just for a little while.”

“Hurry, hurry,” the young girl says, pulling on her father’s arm. Her heart thumps faster as her hand cradles the nickels and dimes in her pocket, money given by her father to spend on rides.

The merry-go-round first. The dragon ride. The spinning top. Kiddy rides. She really wants to go on the roller coaster. To soar up, up . . . and rush down and around the dizzying loops jutting out over the water. “It’s a scream,” her sister said. “Like being in a rocket,” her brother said.

“Next year, when you are older,” her father says. That's what he said last year and the year before that. “It’s not fair,” she says. “I never can have what I want.”

She says no to a hot dog. She says no to an ice cream. She spends the last of her money on the ring toss. A big stuffed panda is what she wants.

She goes home with nothing and an empty stomach.

super moon
the vacant house
still vacant