Not sure I'll be able to post something everyday mind you. I do have plans this month...
But I will do my level best.
Here's a short story called The Trapeze.
But it was dreadful, she thought miserably, to be sick, and today of all days. Her treat day. And that was the worst of it; it was because of the treat that she had been sick in the first place.
Her treat day, her birthday, a trip to the circus, the promise of sweets, and then all too soon it was all too many treats and she had been sick right there behind the tent, and mummy had been cross although she tried to hide it because, after all, it was still her birthday.
The dreadfulness of it, the misery of it, she could barely bring herself to laugh at the clowns running around with their ladders and hoses – although she had raised a wan smile at the sight of their big shoes – but almost as soon as the smile came she was back to remembering being sick right there behind the tent, the fairy floss that she had watched them spin into wisps of pink clouds churning in her tummy and clinging to her teeth until she was sick, right there behind the tent. And mummy had been cross even though she tried to hide it.
So she couldn’t bring herself to laugh at the clowns or coo in awe at the contortionist or gasp in amazement at the strong man. Every time she almost forgot about being sick, right there behind the tent, a hot flush of shame came over her all over again and a sickly burn-y feeling in her tummy that reminded her that she had been sick on her treat day, her birthday, because she had wanted a treat. It wasn’t much of a treat, was it, if it made you sick? mummy had said sadly, giving her a hug.
She had been warned, look at that fairy floss, it’s too much, you’ll feel sick! But it had looked so beautiful twisting and turning and being churned up into wisps of pink cloud – and how did they get it so pink? Best not to ask, mummy said, that special laugh tinkling, the indulgent laugh saved for treats. I really don’t think…it’s too much, you’ll feel sick! But it had looked so beautiful and she had wanted it so much, wanted to see what wispy pink clouds would taste like on her tongue. And then it had clung to her teeth and the truth was, the really dreadful truth was, that it had not tasted nice at all. It had tasted furry and scratchy and not soft like pink clouds, not really. But it had looked so beautiful and she had wanted it so much that she ate every last scrap, even when all the wispiness had congealed into hard pink globs that stuck to the stick and stuck to her teeth, and she had known then she would be sick. Eating it all despite how awful it was, despite how awful it felt, because it was a treat and this was her treat day. Her birthday.
Oh why did I think it was a treat, she mourned, feeling dramatic with the burning feeling in her tummy still there even after being sick, right there behind the tent. She rolled her eyes to the heavens at the despair of it all – her one day, her treat day, her birthday, ruined by pink clouds of sugar that weren’t real clouds at all.
How dreadful, she thought miserably, to be sick on one’s own birthday. The hot flush of shame came over her again as she remembered how it felt behind the tent, the loss of control as her tummy went into spasm over and over again, the horror of having to throw up the pink clouds that had not, could not, fulfil their magical and beautiful promise. And mummy standing there, stroking her hair and trying not to be cross although she was cross really, because she had warned her and she had not listened.
Oh what a betrayal, she thought dramatically. What a betrayal of pink clouds and their magical and beautiful promise. And she had been warned and she had not listened.
So she couldn’t laugh at the clowns. So she couldn’t coo at the contortionist. So she couldn’t gasp at the strongman. It was all too soon, all too raw. She wished she could go home and lie in bed with teddy and a cool flannel on her forehead until the sick-y feelings went away.
Misery, misery. Betrayal, betrayal. On my birthday, she thought. And mummy pretending not to be cross. A tinkling laugh. A half concealed sigh.
Look darling, daddy said, nudging her with his elbow. She groaned slightly inside with the pain that still haunted her tummy and the hot flush of embarrassment rose to her cheeks, pink as fairy floss, again. Look darling, daddy said, nudging her with his elbow. It’s time for the trapeze.
She looked up at him and his eyes shining and followed his gaze to the girl stood high at the top of the tent.