Round and Round We Go

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.)

17 thoughts on “Round and Round We Go

      1. Oh, isn’t that so true! That happens to me, sadly, more frequently than I like. I don’t know if you read the post of mine, “A Murder Amongst Us…” but ever since I decided to kill a major character in the revision of this novel, I have been plotting and re-plotting! I guess that’s all in a day’s work for us writers! I’m glad you managed to write though. I still haven’t sat down to do that yet today!

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  1. I did read that post, and I really felt for you. Killing off a character you like is very hard, particularly if you did not start out intending to kill him or her off. I also feel for you for having to do so much re-plotting!

    Although I have to say this for re-plotting: it keeps things fresh and injects more energy into the writing. It’s easy for staleness to overtake scenes that you have planned out in your mind for a really long time. To me, my whole plot suddenly seems more vital… even though I don’t know exactly what it all is yet.

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    1. You’re very right. Sometimes plot lines just don’t work as is, and when you know it doesn’t work, your readers will too. That’s why it’s important to keep things fresh, and that means that we have to re-plot at times.

      It was so hard having to kill him. I’m really having a hard time writing his funeral scene, but I keep thinking that if I’m getting emotional, my readers will too. That’s important. His death has really added a lot to the book, and it was a necessity, even if it was a difficult decision to make!

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      1. Plus, funerals can be really great scenes. There’s one in the center of my second novel, and it’s basically the only time in the story that pretty much every character is together in the same place.

        Well, one character was not invited. But she’s not upset about that. Really.

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      2. I agree. They really can be great scenes! I’m curious about your character who’s not invited. Is this novel online to read too? I have been meaning to read what you’ve written. 🙂

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      3. And I look forward to hearing your reactions.

        One thing that I did with the funeral (which I did elsewhere with a wedding) was to think, “What would be the best funeral I could imagine?” and then write that.

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      4. That’s good advice. I’ve thought about the funerals I’ve attended and how I felt. (Plus, I read my dad’s pastor guide to funerals.) I’m pretty sure that it’s turning out all right, but I’m glad that I will be doing another revision. And, seriously, thanks for the advice. 🙂

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      5. The funeral and the wedding are definitely not according to any book, but I did have to do some research when I set a mystery story in a church. I was raised Quaker, so there’s a lot I don’t know. 🙂

        I had to look up the different parts of a church building (I chose Episcopalian, because I wanted there to be a lot of tradition,but not Catholic — also my mother was raised Episcopalian), and some other things. I don’t usually do a lot of research, but sometimes you have to.

        But the wedding is my own invention.

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      6. I know. My dad’s pastor manual gives Bible verses that are very helpful. I used the Bible verses but wrote the other parts of it according to my view of how my character’s funeral should be.

        There are times when you have to research for sure. I was raised Baptist, so I generally write about Baptists and Baptist churches (Plus, in the South, we’re pretty renowned for our Baptist churches. lol), but if I did write according to another church or religion, I’d have to research too.

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  2. Great story Emerald! I can empathize. Even as a guy, we’ve all been there at one time or another. Maybe we didn’t puke in a date’s lap, or think about wanting to punch them, but surely we’ve all been in a situation where we wished we were somewhere else. Thank goodness I met my lovely wife almost 15 years ago now and don’t have to worry about that anymore.🙂

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    1. Thank you! Congratulations on 15 years of marriage! 🙂

      I’m pretty sure we all have been there before too. I know I’ve had my fair share of terrible first dates!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Pingback: Tackling A Funeral to Crocheting a Blanket…A Week (or so) in Writing | Emerald Barnes' Dreaming Awake Blog

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