Earl the Hurricane didn’t come so we walked to the fair. The stars were covered with dark furry clouds like stupid memories. She said she loved rides. I tried to remember how.  

We went on 1001 Nights. It was like a big pendulum. I slid back and forth in my seat. She screamed. I wondered what my face looked like to the people below, how sickly it grew. When we got off I still felt like I was moving. Later, she thanked me for the G’s up her spine. I nodded, knowing they weren’t mine. 

We were late. We stood outside the gate on picnic tables, watching mini-vans smash into each other. An old man waved us in. We sat on greasy concrete steps. She leaned into me. I leaned back. The mini-vans raced in circles, backward, trying to hurt each other. I didn’t want to do that anymore. It was fun to watch, and sad. 

And the people. Because they all knew. We all knew what was coming. For the most part. Kind of like a gift from God, but only for a little while. Anticipation like that required cut-off jean shorts. Wife-beaters. Unlaced work boots. It was like moving your hand toward a spinning fan. It could have been anyone, not just them. I tried to remember where I was, and the irony of what I was threatening to be. 

A cover band playing Black Eyed Peas. Old men. Tickets for beer. Millennials with attitude.

Girls in small clothes. Boys following them. Always the same, even now. Different wrapping is all. We’d all been here before even if we thought we hadn’t. Just a different near miss. Another name. Another hurricane.

 We drank beer. She wiped her finger on her nose, then swirled her finger in the foam. An old trick from college. I knew it too. 

At Martha’s Vineyard, surfers raced into the ocean. They were looking for it too, but for better reasons than the ones I had ten years ago, five. I couldn’t see them.

“People like wrecks,” I said. “They like the danger.”

She looked up, smiling.  

She went into the bathroom. I danced on the small rocks outside. 

We left through the gates, holding hands. We passed a place where I used to fail, beside the tiger cage, and kept walking. 

Beneath the blankets she asked. 

I said, “The Astronaut,” but her helmet wasn’t handy, fittingly.     

Mel Bosworth is the author of When the Cats Razzed the Chickens (Folded Word Press, 2009) Grease Stains, Kismet, and Maternal Wisdom (Brown Paper Publishing, 2010) and Freight (coming May, 2011 from Folded Word Press).  Mel lives, breathes, writes, and works in western Massachusetts.



Copyright 2009