The Big Kid Ride
The sun high above their heads, Amy and her mother stood side by side, holding hands as they walked across the parking lot of the local carnival. They reached the gate and paid the
admission. The sights and sounds of the carnival filled their eyes and ears as they approached. You could see some of the rides from where they were standing!The tops of
roller coasters zoomed and giant wheels spun! Amy was so exited; she had never been to the carnival before. She wished her dad could have come but he had to work and wouldn’t be home
Amy let go of her mothers hand and ran forward several feet, “Look mommy, a giant wheel!”
“Yes sweetie it’s called a fairs wheel… don’t drag your teddy on the ground like that, he’ll get all dirty, do you want me to carry it for you?”
“No!” She yelled and came back to her mother side, “We have to go get stamped first through, come on.”
They came to a stop in front of a purple booth with a yellow smile on it. “Here it is.” They stood in wait in the hot noon sun for a few minutes before Amy started to
complain about the heat.
“Only a little longer,” Her mother would reply patiently, “How much longer?” she’d question, “a little.”
When they finally reached the front of the line, an old lady greeted them from behind the glass window. “Hello! Right hand please! ”
Amy placed her hand through the little slit in the window and the lady stamped her hand, when she looked down at it a red-print monkey was smiling back at her. As her mother placed her hand
under the glass Amy saw a giant fairs wheel with spinning cages that contained the seats with a large sign that read “The Star”. “Mommy, I want to ride that ride!”
“That’s a big kid ride sweetie, I’ll have to ride it with you, so maybe later, but for, now let’s go ride the little kid rides.”
Amy followed her mother reluctantly, walking towards a small roller coaster she pointed and said,” I want to ride this.”
“Alright then come on.” There was a small line in front but when the ride came to a stop they were next to get on. They boarded a small car in the middle and fastened in. The ride
started up Amy began to get nervous. She felt a slight fluttering sensation in her stomach as the cars began to climb slowly up the first small hill. The climb seemed to drag on forever
in Amy’s mind and the feeling in her stomach began to intensify as they started to reach the top of the hill, even as the ride stopped at the top of the hill the feeling increased. Amy saw
something out of the corner of her eye.
She looked up and the butterflies immediately vanished when she saw the large flashing neon sign that read “The Star”. “Mommy, when we get off this ride can we ride “The Star”?”
“We’ll see.” She said, but Amy new that meant no. She was about to start begging her mother but the ride began to go down the hill and Amy started to scream as the coaster did sharp
turns and twists, forgetting all about their previous conversation for the moment. The ride stopped and Amy got off, feeling more than a little dizzy, but already pestering her mother about
the next ride. Amy’s mother just shook her head and began to walk away, taking her daughters hand as she continued to beseech.
“Please mom?” asked Amy.
“Not yet…” She trailed off and began to walk in the direction of her friend,
“After I have a word with my friend we can go ride that thing you’ve been talking about.” Amy sighed and followed her mother knowing that it more than likely wouldn’t happen. As they
spoke Amy decide she didn’t want to wait any longer. When her mother and her friend began to walk Amy staid behind and started to walk in the direction she thought the ride was in. Amy’s
mother turned around to tell her anxious daughter that they could go ride the ride now, but when she looked Amy wasn’t there! She shouted frantically for her daughter but started to walk in
the direction of the information booth when she didn’t get any response but a few curious glances from some bystanders and a few odd looks from some unconcerned carnies.
Amy walked past the games to were she thought she had seen the ride, but when she looked around, it was nowhere in sight. Panicked, she began to quicken her pace. As it dawned on her
that she was lost her heart started to pound, so loud that the surrounding sounds were almost completely inaudible. Amy turned, thinking she had hear her mother calling her, but not completely
trusting her senses she ignored it and walked in the opposite direction. Amy came to a stop in front of a large red and yellow tent, sitting down in front of it, large tears began to roll down
her face. A friendly but concerned voice came from beside her, “Are you alright little girl?” It asked. Peeking through her fingers Amy saw a pair of brightly colored large
“A clown?” She asked, standing up now.
“Yes, and it looks like your lost, right?” Amy nodded.
“I was going to ride the big kid ride but I lost my mommy.” She explained. After introducing herself Amy asked the clown if he would help her find her mother.
“Well,” He said, taking a deep breath as though about to go into deep thought, “I can’t help you, but I’ll take you to my friend Zahra and she should be able to, okay?” Amy nodded and
followed the clown, who later said his name was Charlie, into the tent. They came to a stop in front of a woman in baggy clown clothes, when she spoke zeal and kindness radiated off of her,
but with one glace at Amy and Charlie’s somber expression her joyous demeanor quickly turned to concern. “Hello there, who’s this you’ve got with you Charlie?” As Charlie explained her
situation Amy was looking at Zahra, from head to toe. She had red hair that stood straight up, and Amy didn’t think it was a wig. Zahra noticed her staring and explained that it was just
for show, she didn’t really wear it like this in public. Zahra agreed to take Amy to her mother and off they went.
Walking with Zahra Amy started to wonder if her mother had notice she was gone yet. Amy looked up at her escort skeptically and wondered if trusting this stranger was such a good idea, so
to feel more at ease she began to question her. “Why do you work here?” She wanted to know; certainly it wasn’t the only thing she was capable of.
“Because it’s fun.”
“Why do you wear your hair like that?”
“Because people think it’s funny and my job is to make people laugh.” And on they went, back and forth like that for a while until they came to a stop in front of a dark tent with a
sign in front of it that said “Freak Show”. “Now let me ask you a question,” Said Zahra, looking so intently into Amy’s eyes she felt an overwhelming urge to look away,” why did you run
away? Don’t you think your mother’s worried? You should think about that before you do something like so drastic.”
Amy’s lip began to tremble and tears began to fill her eyes,” I just wanted to ride the big kid ride!”
Sighing Zahra took her hand and, casting a quick glance at the “Freak Show” sign and back to Amy she asked,” Do you want to go in there?”
“Okay.” She sniffed and then quickly scurried off after Zahra. It was dark in there with just a few small green lights illuminating the many exotic exhibits. To the right was a
two headed stuffed pig, who Amy assumed at one time must have been alive. She fidgeted as it seemed that it was staring at her with its unblinking eyes that appeared to follow you like a
They walked quickly past it and stopped in front of two men connected at the head. Staring wide eyed Amy exclaimed in a breathy, awe filled voice,” Their stuck together! Their
twins! The twins in my class don’t look like this though!” Grabbing her hand Zahra pulled her away from the men,” You can’t just say something like that, you could have hurt
his—their feelings, go apologize. Looking up at Zahra in surprise by the sudden change of tone she stood there in stunned silence.
“But…” she began, but was cut off by Zahra’s stern look. Sighing she turned to do what she had been instructed to do, but when she looked they were already gone.
Forgetting about the men for a moment she turned to the next exhibit, a small grey kitten. She stared at its frozen body,
confused for a minute not understand what was wrong with it. Realizing they may have to look at it from an angle to see what was wrong Zahra told Amy to go to the other side of it. Amy began
to move around it, and there it was, plain as day! A fifth leg was sticking out of the kittens back, right next to its tail! Still staring she pointed and whispered,” Look.” Zahra just
nodded and started to walk towards the exit mumbling something about taking her to her mother now. Amy followed her out of the tent and into the bright daylight.
As they walked away Amy started to worry about how angry her mother must be at her. She remembered her mother’s fury the last time she had done something like this. She was beginning
to wish she had just waited. Seeing the nervous expression Amy had been carrying for the last few minutes Zahra asked her what was wrong. With a nervous glace from side to side as though
to make sure no one was to hear, even though they were surrounded by people, she explained in a quite voice,” I’m afraid mama will be mad at me.”
Looking into Amy’s glistening eyes that seemed to be sparkling like the ocean at sunset as tears began to fill her eyes yet again. Zahra gave a reassuring smile and said,” I’m sure she’s
more worried than angry.” But Amy didn’t seem to be listening and she began to sob. Zahra sighed and continued walking, knowing that there was nothing she could say to help. She
remembered once when she was little and she’d gotten separated from her parents at the carnival, this carnival to be exact. That was the day she decided she wanted to work at the carnival, and
she thought about how much fun it had been talking with the carnies and riding the rides without her parents there to bother her about what she ate and when. But she also remembered how scared
she’d gotten when it got dark and how relived and happy she was when her parents found her. She understood that the best thing to do was just get her home as soon as possibly.
As they approached the information booth Amy’s mother began to become visible. As they got closer Amy’s could see that her mother was also crying. She rushed over into her warm embrace
but was quickly pulled out by her mother’s torrent of worried questions. “Where were you? Are you okay? Do you know how worried I was? Don’t you ever do that again, do you
understand me?” Knowing all these but the last were rhetorical Amy just looked at the ground and nodded along with what her mother was saying. After thanking Zahra for her help and
apologizing to her mother for the hundredth time they began to walk to the car.
As they approached the car Amy’s pace slowed to a crawl, not really wanting to be trapped in the car together, but knowing that if she continued to slow her mother would question her
motive. As they got into the car Amy’s eyelids started to get heavy. They road almost the entire way in silence. Amy’s mother looked in her rearview mirror and found the reason for
why it was so quite. Amy was sleeping peacefully in the back seat. She smiled to herself and thought about what a long day it had been. A few minutes later they pulled into their
drive way. Opening the garage door she began to unfasten her seat belt.
She got out of the car and went around the back to wake up her daughter. She shook her shoulder slightly but the only response she got was a muffled protest that sounded a little like
“don’t wanna”. Picking up her sleeping child she carried her into her room and laid her on the bed. Peeking open a tired eye Amy muttered,” I’m sorry for running away mama…” She looked as
though she wanted to say more but she closed her eye and drifted off to sleep. Her mother smiled and covered her up.
Not sure if her daughter was asleep or if she was listening she sighed and whispered,” I love you.” She kissed her on the forehead and smiled. If only you knew how worried I
was, she thought. She turned on her nightlight and started walking towards the door. When she had her hand on the light switch she heard a breathy,” I love you to.” She turned
off the light and walked down the hallway to her own room. Hoping he wouldn’t be to mad she began to tell her husband about the busy day they had.
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