The Wheel

The Wheel by

It took one turn of the Ferris wheel to shatter my world. I want to take a finger to the gaudy lights and wind it back.

You cradled my waist in the queue. These days, the harbour of your arms is rare, but my body remembered, melted, and didn’t I sink in? Beside us, Arlo’s sandaled feet hopped on the flattened grass, his chattered nonsense shrill. Remember the blaring klaxons and rock song riffs, the booming voice promising anyone’s game? Didn’t we laugh at the shrieks from the spinning waltzers, each one a metal dervish whipping up ecstasy?

I smelled it, sour on your breath- last night’s booze. God knows you need to relax, to offload your worries before coming home and sleeping stone still on your side of the bed, I didn’t want to wake you, love. God knows you’ve been working too hard for deadlines, for us. Didn’t we need a blue-sky day like this, some family time, a treat?

You glanced at your phone, pocketed it. Just work. Our embrace loosened. Through the pooling silence you promised us snacks.

You’ll miss the ride! I made sorrowful eyes. You looked away.

Please, Daddy! Arlo hung all his weight on your arm. You tousled his curls. Look after Mummy.

I lifted Arlo onto the ride, sat beside him. The swinging seat lurched- he froze- I pulled him close and he pealed with nervous giggles. Shouldn’t you have heard him? The safety bar crashed, clunked, and Arlo grasped it tight. His chubby legs swung in sheer delight at the absence of the ground.

A slow stop-start ascension to fill the seats below, to see the funfair’s garish tapestry spread out, a picnic blanket laden with thrills. Through the throngs of milling people, we glimpsed a hundred moments, hovering high above the chaos like birds, at peace.

It took a while to spot you. Your height, the breadth of your shoulders, the sense of my other half’s place was lost. First, I found your white shirt; a cotton petal drifting, then the green pixels of your trainers as you walked. I noticed your thinning crown.

A head of blonde hair bobbed up. Wracking my brains to place her, bitter from wanting it to be just us today, I watched. As your stance softened, my knuckles tensed. Leaning in, you touched her face and kissed. Shouldn’t I have known already she’s the office girl you don’t mention anymore?

We passed the zenith, began to descend. Arlo’s happy chirping pierced my ears- did I really snap at him just stop? Wafts of cloying caramel engulfed us, flashing lights in lurid colours signalled danger. I gestured wildly to the acned attendant; let me off!

My head was heavy against the kiosk while Arlo pummelled his fists and squeezed out hot tears. Up you strode, clutching plump bags of candy floss- sweet junk for Arlo’s outstretched arms. Surprise!

Behind us, the Ferris wheel spun in sickening rounds, and disco lights danced in your laughing eyes.

 

 


 

 

Cecilia is a writer based in London, UK. Her work has previously won and shortlisted on Reedy.

 

Photo -Nainesh Shah

 

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