This was a story that came from a writing prompt about riding a merry go round from my blog post, It’s Not the Street I Usually Go Down…. I thought I’d have a little fun and post a story of mine.
He held my hand tightly as we walked through the orange glow of a lamp-lit park. Passing cars’ headlights acted like spotlights as they drove past us, and I shrank away hoping no one noticed me. His palm was sweaty, and I wondered if he was nervous or if it was just the heat. The Mississippi weather had gone from cold to hot in a matter of a few days, and on this particular night, the temperature was still near ninety degrees. Either way, I wanted my hand back and some sanitizer.
He thought strolling through the park under a starlit sky would be romantic. I knew it was hot outside and probably wouldn’t be, but I didn’t protest. I let him have this one.
With my free hand, I swatted away a mosquito that had landed on my arm and was sucking my blood. Slightly disgusted, I tried to focus on what he was saying, but the loud circus music emanating from the merry-go-round was driving me insane.
“My dad owns that restaurant,” he said proudly. I didn’t think it was that much to be proud of, but who was I to judge?
“Uh-huh.” I nodded trying to sound interested.
“One day I’ll own it.” I knew he was smiling by the tone of his voice.
When your father dies, you mean? I thought but didn’t say.
Frank was shorter than me by about half a foot with large brown eyes and small lips. All he talked about was his vintage Dodge Ram and how he was in school trying to get a business degree. He was twenty-six and had just now decided that he was going back. My friend said she was going to set up a blind date for the two of us. She just didn’t tell me she was joking. He was lucky I was giving him a chance by letting him drag me to the park in these heels on a hot, summery night.
My feet ached, and I was beginning to sweat. I felt gross and just wanted to go home. He was still talking about that revolting restaurant, and I was screaming SHUT UP in my mind but smiling on the outside trying to look like I was having fun.
“I take care of buyin’ the food we need…”
I nodded but didn’t care about what he was saying. Maybe my aching feet were making me irritable, but I kind of doubted it.
Finally unable to take his sweaty hand holding mine, I pulled it away and wiped it on my dress. I didn’t try to cover up what I had done, but knowing him, he probably thought it was my hand sweating.
“My feet are killin’ me. You care if we sit?”
“Sure,” he said, and we walked a few more feet to a bench near the merry-go-round.
I didn’t want anyone seeing me with him, but I couldn’t stand any longer. I was about to sit on the concrete bench when he said, “Wait.”
“What?” I sighed heavily.
“Let’s ride the merry-go-round.”
You’ve got to be kiddin’ me!
Gritting my teeth but trying to smile and cover it up, I said, “Sure.”
I stood, and we walked to the line and stood behind some thirteen years olds who didn’t have anything better do with their weekend. The circus music was louder and more irritating, and about that time, a hot breeze blew my hair, tousling it.
I smoothed it. He was staring at me smiling with lust in his eyes and licking his lips. Don’t punch him. Don’t punch him. Don’t punch him. That had become my mantra. I turned to face the merry-go-round. The music grew louder and louder, and the horses grinned menacingly. It was almost like they knew I was on a terrible date, and things would only get worst.
When it stopped, some more teenagers and a few moms and dads with their kids, stepped off of it laughing. I was glad I didn’t know anyone. Frank paid for our tickets, and we stepped on the slightly wobbly flooring. He led me to one of the sleds, and we took a seat. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders, and I wanted to shrug away. I continued to repeat my mantra.
After everyone had situated themselves, the ride started and so did the giggles of thirteen year old girls flirting with the boys around them. Meanwhile, Frank was still talking. I think he had changed the subject, but I wasn’t entirely sure. The world on the outside of the merry-go-round started spinning, and I focused on the horse in front of me. Oh yes, this was romantic. I was staring at a horse’s butt to keep from looking at the lights and trees spinning around me.
As the ride continued on, I started to get sick. Vertigo. I had attacks every now and then, and I was having one now. Staring at the horse’s butt wasn’t helping nor was shutting my eyes. That only made it worst. My stomach started spinning with the ride, and the music irritated me more by the minute.
“Jenna,” he said gently.
I turned to face him. He was leaning in close to me, and I was shaking my head no. Apparently he didn’t see me because he was still moving closer to my face. I turned my head, and as he kissed my cheek, I threw up on his legs and shoes. Needless to say, I’d never be eating at his future restaurant again. It was about the same coming up as going down.
He kind of screamed and jumped out of his seat.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, trying to hide the smile on my face as I wiped the corners of my mouth.
(*I googled this picture, but if you click on it, it should take you to the site I borrowed it from.)