This post was written for The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge, based on this image:
Mom pulls up to the rusty yellow carousel outside the convenience store and lets her get out of the car to wait. She leaves her backpack in the trunk for now. Today is her favorite day of the week, but not only because it’s Friday – because she gets to see her daddy today. She always knows when it’s Friday because she gets to ride the frog with the silly hat and the giraffe and the tiger with the pointy tail while she waits for him.
But today she doesn’t really feel like spinning on the funny circus animals. She just wants to see her dad. She wishes he would hurry up and get there already. She always has to wait for him. He works too much, she thinks, as she waits eagerly on the edge of the carousel. Her hands grip the peeling paint of the ride as she begins to count.
Counting the seconds becomes more difficult for her once she reaches fifty, so she starts to hum her favorite song instead. Maybe he’ll get there before she finishes the song. Not quite. As she finishes her second time through, she finally gives in and climbs on the frog with the silly hat.
As the animals begin to turn, she allows herself to get lost in the memories of her mom and daddy when they still loved each other. Every Saturday, they would walk, swinging her between them, to the park, where she would ride a carousel almost just like this one. She would giggle and giggle as daddy pushed her around and around, all the blues and yellows and reds mixing into a single swoosh of purple.
During these last several Saturdays, though, mommy hasn’t been there to watch daddy push her. Instead, daddy meets them at the rusty yellow carousel at the convenience store and picks her up to spend the weekend with him at his new house. The little one with the old shaggy green carpet. Her room there doesn’t have her pretty pink pillows with the yellow lace around the outside. She misses her pillows.
She continues to spin, now on the bunny with the big red ears, as she thinks about all the things she misses when she is at daddy’s. She misses her teddy bears and her doll babies and her mommy. She misses her mommy the most when she is at daddy’s on the weekends.
Her memories blur, mixing with her tears and the spinning landscape around her, as she hears his car pull up. She hears her mom open the trunk to get her purple backpack out. She knows it’s time to get off the carousel and start her weekend with daddy. She starts to cry harder, but she can’t figure out why. She loves her daddy more than anyone in the world.
Why in the world is she crying when it’s finally time to go have fun with him for the weekend? For two whole days, she would get to stay up late, eat as much ice cream as her tummy can handle, and spin around and around on the carousel at the park. Why was she so sad?
That’s when she looks up and sees mommy with her arms out, ready for a hug. Mommy! She would miss her mom! She wishes and wishes she could come, too. She wants so badly for mommy and daddy to walk her to the park again and to put her on the pink elephant and push her into complete dizziness.
Why don’t they love each other anymore? Is it her fault? Was she a bad girl? Was it something she did? As mommy buckles her in daddy’s car and gives her a big kiss on her cheek, she is afraid she may never know.