Carnival Reflections, a Short Story

Below are monologues from three very different people. Imagine yourself as their friend, and take a seat beside them.

1.

Oh! Hello! It’s so nice to see you again. I was wondering when you might – excuse me for just a minute, will you?

JAMIE! No shooting your brother. What? Yes, I realize you were only using your finger. No, I know it’s not a real gun. Why can’t you do it? Because I said so. Now take your sister down to the carousel. Remember that she likes the pink pony.

I’m sorry about that. Boys will be boys, you know? I’m telling you, if I’d known how much work they’d be, I’d have run in the other direction the first time Jeremy asked me out for coffee.

Well, not really, but…you know. Jamie started as a screamer, and then he was a runner, and now he’s a boundary pusher. And, of course, there’s Justin’s bug collection and chemistry set and Josh’s model cars and Legos. Have you ever stepped on a Lego? No? Well, count yourself lucky, darling.

Jennifer and little Janna are sweet angels most of the time. But if one of their brothers takes a doll from them? You should hear the lungs on those girls! And they can be so emotional sometimes. Jennifer has started crying twice a day for no reason, and Janna has nightmares at least once a week. And then I have to sing her back to sleep.

It’s not that I mind really, it’s just – oh, hang on. Could you hold Jason for a minute? Thanks. I just need to – there we go. I almost forgot to text Brittany to see if she could watch the kids for me next Friday. It’s our anniversary, you know. Goodness, we haven’t had a night out in ages. I’m almost afraid to look forward to it in case something happens to keep us from going.

I’m telling you, Walt Disney didn’t know the first thing about a dream come true. Princes on white horses and starry lanterns? Psshh. A massage and then a mani and pedi followed by candlelit dinner – that’s what I’m talking about.

Oh my. It’s just so exhausting sometimes. I love them. I really do, even though they’re turning my hair gray. Sometimes it scares me how much I love them. But sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore, and that scares me too.

Ah, Jenny’s screaming. I wonder what’s set her off this time. I’d better go check. Would you mind watching Jason for a minute? You’re a life saver.

 

 

2.

Oh. It’s you. No, sure, you can come along. I don’t mind.

I’ve always loved the Ferris wheel. I know it’s slower than most of the other rides, but once I get up to the top I feel like I can forget everything that’s happening down on the ground. Like maybe if I close my eyes and wish hard enough, I’ll just float free and fly up into the clouds. Maybe up there, being invisible wouldn’t hurt so much.

Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry about the melodrama.

Wait…no. No, actually, I’m not okay. That was a lie. I haven’t been okay for a long time.

Mom’s moving out. She’s moving out and going to New York. And the thing is, she’s taking Ben. But not me. He’s the child prodigy, after all, with “a bright future” ahead of him. I don’t know if she even sees me anymore. It’s like – like all she can see, all she can talk about, are her dreams and her career and the way Dad has held her back and made her sacrifice so much and if she hadn’t married him, she’d already be a super successful businesswoman on Wall Street.

Ugh, sometimes I just want to scream at her, Don’t you see you’re not the only person in this family?! Don’t you see that we make sacrifices too? Don’t you see me working my tail off to bring home As and Bs so that maybe someday, just maybe, you’ll look at me and say good job, that you’re proud of me? Don’t you see me at all?

And don’t try to tell me that it’ll all be okay if I hold on and have faith and be the best person I can be or some load of – sorry. That was rude. But all of those fake, goody goody sayings just make me sick.

It doesn’t help when I go over to Lindsey’s and see her and her mom giggling over the boy Lindsey likes or some inside family joke. Jordan’s mom takes her to all her practices and goes to her games. Even Amber’s mom cared enough to give her the money to buy her prom dress. I don’t think Mom even realized I’m old enough to go to prom.

Dad tries, but I don’t think he knows what to do with me. I just wish…I just wish someone saw me. Really saw me. Like they would look at me and know who I am and not care about all of the dumb awkward teenage stuff on the outside. Like they’d care enough to look deeper.

Looks like the ride is over. I’d better get home – gotta help Ben pack his stuff for New York. I’ll see you around.

 

3.

Yes, good afternoon to you as well. Would you like to sit? Please, join me.

You know, for many years, I did not like places such as this. Too many noises, too many people crowded into one place. But I do not mind them so much now. Watching the children laugh … it does my heart good.

There is a saying in my country: Although parents go a thousand ri away, they do not forget their children. I have gone farther than that, but still I do not forget.

Hmm? No, I have never told you of my child, of my Aimi. Perhaps because it pained me too much to think of her. The pain is easier now. Not less, but softer.

She was born in the springtime. Born to rain and wind and thunder and to green grass and sunshine and garden roses. She danced into life in a thunderstorm and out in a hurricane. But in between she so often danced in the sun that I forget about the beginning and end.

She was most often bright and cheerful, but she felt deeply and wept for others’ sorrows. But she was frail. So frail…

Ah, that little one there with the black eyes and hair. She is like my Aimi. This is why I come, hoping to catch a glimpse of her in someone else’s daughter.

Before she went, she made me promise: Do not forget me, Touchan. Promise you won’t forget. And so I keep coming, keep looking, keep remembering.

It is time for you to go, my friend. You have an anxious look in your eyes. Go. I will not keep you. I thank you for listening.

No, I will not go yet. I will keep watching – for just a little longer.

2 Comments:

  1. I liked the Carnival story. Each person was unique. It kept me reading.

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