Merry Go Round | March 2, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - March 2, 2012

Merry Go Round

Second place: Teen

by Emily Katz

Jerry loved carnivals. The smells of the sticky candies and the buttery popcorn, the bright colors and the men in costume, the thrilling rides, it all made him squeal with delight. Holding tight to his mother's hand, he hopped up and down with joy as his little eyes darted around, not knowing where to look first. Then he saw it. It sat right in the center of the circle of rides, its loud music and dancing banners begging to be the center of attention. It circled slowly to the music, allowing those who rode it to see the entire park. Although in reality it was a giant, clammy piece of brightly colored plastic, in Jerry's four-year-old eyes it was beautiful. He began to walk in the direction of the ride as fast as his stubby legs would carry him, tugging his mother behind him. She chuckled, and let him lead her around. When he got closer, he could see the horses moving up and down, as if they were galloping around and around. The ornate details glimmered in the afternoon sun, chipped gold paint that decorated the harness giving off its tarnished shine, and the pinks and greens and reds of the flowers that covered them. Their manes looked wind tossed and picturesque; their plastic hides perfectly brushed. Jerry imagined himself hopping onto one and stroking its head as it tossed and stamped, eager to be off. He whistled like he'd always wished he could, and his beauty took off into the sunset, to the adventures beyond. They would be best friends, through thick and thin, and would go every place they wanted. They would battle pirates with long beards and eye patches, and parrots that talked to them. They would fight off the invading robot army from mars, and save the planet, because without the planet there would be no adventures. Jerry stood there and dreamt. He wanted to be free from the cramped apartment waiting for him after his day at the carnival, free of his dad. In Jerry's mind, his dad was huge; he took up every space in the house with his menacing presence. When his father fought with his mom, he could hear his great voice booming in his room as he tried to sleep through it. In the morning, his mother would smile at him with tired eyes and act like it was okay, but Jerry knew it wasn't. He knew she was leaving soon, and it made him cry at night. The only things Jerry truly loved in this world were his mother and his imagination, and he couldn't bear to lose one of them. So Jerry retreated into his mind, and he saw himself loving that horse like his mother, and he knew he had to ride it. He went through the line, hopped on his favorite horse and waited for the adventure to unfold.

This story contains 2481 words.

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