We are two 9-year-olds, sitting on the park bench waiting for the parade to pass by. Today is the first day of the most-awaited Town Fair. My best friend, Jessica and I couldn’t sleep for days busy imagining the sweet pink ice cream and blue cotton candy–-the kind that we only get to taste every Town Fair. They don’t usually sell these stuff here on any other days.
The drumbeats! The parade’s here. We stood up and ran towards the sidewalk, squeezing our tiny bodies through the maddening crowd. It’s good to be small, it’s easy to pass through the small gaps between bodies. After a few struggles, we reached the front row at last.
I love parades. The majorettes help me visualize each note through the fluid but rhythmic movements of batons and the smooth twirl of those fluffy skirts. I love watching the band players, too. I like their white gloves and those barrel-like hat with white fluffy feather-lace adorning the tip! I love the way the fibers of the feather-lace are being blown off by the wind... they look like yellow carnations being teased by the wind at summertime.
Jessica is smiling and clapping her hands. She loves those, too! I can clearly remember how she described the batons and the skirt, the musical instruments and the hats! Jessica is our neighbor. We grow up, play, go to school, make-believe… together. I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
“Oh, we forgot to buy the pink ice cream!” shouted Jessica, pulling my hand and ushering me away from the sidewalk. This time, the crowd is thinning and we freely passed through the myriad of bodies.
“This is the last cone of ice cream left. I can give it to one of you, only if you have been a good girl this week,” said the ice cream man.
Without any thought, Jessica blurted, “Oh, she was grounded by her Mom yesterday because she refused to eat vegetables at lunch and she threw them away when her Mom was not looking but she was caught!”
“Is it true?” the ice cream man asked me.
I nodded, with bowed head. I hated those vegetables and my Mom forced me to eat them.
“How about your friend? Was she good this week?” the ice cream man asked me further.
I nodded. “Yes, she was,” I said with a voice soft and shallow.
The ice cream man gave Jessica the cone of pink ice cream. She shared it with me and we both playfully lick it while walking towards the rides.
We tried all the kiddie rides, won prizes in several games, watched magic shows, played with the jugglers and before we knew it, the day is almost over.
“Jessica, the blue cotton candy!”
We almost forgot. We went around the place in the search for the cotton candy man. He was busy packing up when we reached his stand.
“You are lucky, girls. I have one left here.”
No, not again. I silently prayed that he will not ask if we have been good this week.
“You look happy but your eyes say, your heart is breaking,” the cotton candy man told me.
My heart sank. He figured out I was bad! I don’t know how he knew it. I looked at Jessica and she was smiling.
“To cheer you up, I’m gonna give you this cotton candy. I know you will share it with your pretty friend here,” said the cotton candy man.
I couldn’t believe what I heard. I thanked him with all my heart and accepted my favorite blue cotton candy with a smile.
“Thank God, he didn’t ask whether I was good or bad,” I said to myself. Jessica and I immediately poked our fingers on the hollow blue cotton candy and began eating it playfully.
I still couldn’t understand, though, how the cotton candy man figured out, that today, despite the fun that Jessica and I had at the Fair, I am sad deep inside. I am, actually, brokenhearted. I never thought that Jessica would give me away so easily, and just for the pink ice cream! Its sweetness couldn’t even sweeten the bitterness I feel in my heart.
Pink ice cream
Is all it takes
For me to see:
What I really mean
To my dear old friend.
And blue cotton candy,
Is all it takes
For me to know,
That when I’m down,
Someone is there
To erase my frown.