Monday, October 19, 2009

Carousel Boy


Huge plastic full of cotton candy on one hand,my mom's arm in the other, we walked around the carnival during one spring afternoon. I was eight back then, and every year we go to the carnival just 10 minutes away from our house. My mom would usually buy me little bears, both the teddy from our house. My mom would usually buy me little bears, both the teddy and the gummy, and make me hop in the small rides. She'd just look on, cheering. Then we'd stop by a small snow cone booth and have a taste of the blueberry, watermelon and green apple flavors. As the sun would set, my dad picks us up just in time for me to catch some cartoons on TV.

Happy as it sounds, I never was satisfied in just going to the carnival. I've always wanted to ride the carousel. I want to ride on one of the horses and imagine myself galloping on lush meadows as I glimpse at the colorful dragonflies flying by the abundant flowerbeds. And every time I see the picket fence surrounding the meadows, I always see someone far away. It was a face of a boy, and he was also riding a horse. The boy had shiny brown hair and round , blue eyes. He would always wave at me, asking me to come over him, which I will. Then we'd play by the flowerbeds, catch the dragonflies and set them free. That illusion always comes back in my mind every time we go back every single year. I've been asking my mom to bring me there ever since I was five, but she won't let me because I'm "too little to ride them."
A year after I last asked her, we went back to the carnival. I saw the carousel once again, But I Hesitated to ask mom, as she might say "no" once more. As I rode the small rides, I kept gazing at the horses, and the small carriages behind them. Suddenly, clear as ever, the illusion came back.I saw the lush meadows, the colorful butterflies, the abundant flowerbeds, the boy... it was all so wonderful.

"Yaasmeen, is there something wrong?"

I guess my sadness came out etched on my face. Mom brought me to one of the benches. "Aren't you happy?" she asked. I had to ride that carousel. Somehow. I felt something was pulling me towards it. "Mom," I said, "can I ride the carousel?"

Her gentle face turned into a firm one. Uh-oh, I thought, she's going to say no again. I knew it. But after a few seconds of silence, she smiled and replied."I think you're big enough to ride," The happiness just overwhelmed me. From the moment I was waiting in the line till I got on one of the horses, my grin reached my ears. At last, I'm on. My illusion was lingering in my head. Then the most surprising thing happened.

Riding beside me was the boy, I wasn't sure if it was really the same boy I saw in my illusion, but as I gazed at him, he had the same shiny, brown hair and round, blue eyes. For some reason, it felt like we knew each other for a long time. "Hi," he said. He was grinning. I just smiled back. We didn't talk to each other during the whole ride, but we laughed when we look at each other. When the ride stopped, he hopped down and reached his hand to me, helping me down the horse, "I guess I'll see you around,"he said.
I nodded and said,"I guess."Then mom started calling me.
"yaasmeen, come on, dad's waiting,"
"yaasmeen," the boy said, I'll try to remember that name." Then he ran until he was out of sight.
As we walked out of the carnival, we passed by a photo shop where they sell candid pictures of people in the rides, "Oh look, sweetie," mom said as she pointed at one picture. "That's you on the carousel!"She bought the picture and handed it to me. It was a photo of me and the boy, smiling at each other.

Twenty years have passed, and the photo is still with me. Too bad I forgot to get his name. At least he's not in an illusion anymore. I may not get to see him ever again, but whenever we go to the carnival and see the carousel, it feels like there was a reason for me to ride it.It's for me to meet him, and only time can tell if we really meant for each other I'll see him again and I think that was enough.
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