June 05, 2011
I had planned to take Little Biker Boy out for ice cream: that seemed the perfect thing to do on a summer evening. But then on our way through Traintrack Village, we heard music blaring, people screaming, and the sound of a fire hose sprayed full force. As we came over the bridge, I saw strings of red and yellow lights, a tall blue slide, and greasy smoke rising from the concessions stands.
It was the field days, sponsored each year by the fire department. Little Biker Boy bounced up and down in his seat. “We can get ice cream there!” he said.
As we walked across the grass to the spinning lights and bright-colored booths, I could smell fried dough and stale beer. Little kids ran around screaming, clutching stuffed animal prizes. I could hear the clink of plastic rings bouncing off bottles, and the jangle of change as hawkers took money from customers.
I get motion sick, so there’s no way I was going to go on the rides, but Little Biker Boy lined up right away to go on something called the Cyclone. It looked like some kind of torture method to me, but he was dancing with eagerness.
“Now stay right here!” he kept saying. “Right here where you can see me!”
“I’ll be right here,” I assured him. “I’ll wave to you.”
He climbed up, let the man strap him in, and waved to me until the ride started. It made me dizzy just to watch the contraption spinning around and around. When the wheel came to a stop, he stumbled down the ramp, looking a little sick. But when he saw me, he puffed out his chest: “That was awesome!”
As we wound our way through the crowd, he kept running into kids he went to school with last fall. It seems like everyone remembered him. We threw rings at bottles, and darts at balloons, and squirted water at moving targets. He ate fried dough and a caramel apple and a piece of pizza.
When I could see that he was beginning to get overwhelmed by all the noise and excitement, we got back in the car, and I drove to the canal. The setting sun was casting shadows on the water, and we could hear the little frogs singing. The tension in my head began to subside. We sat in the dusk, slapping at mosquitoes and talking, until he seemed calmed down and ready for me to take him home.
“I’m going to fall asleep tonight. I know I am,” he said in the car as I drove him back to his mother’s apartment. “Thanks for tiring me out.”
Posted by jo(e)