I was completely captivated, like a child on her first carousel ride spinning to the music of the calliope. But I wasn’t like the child who screeched and giggled as the unicorn raised and lowered itself to the musical notes ringing through the air. It wouldn’t be the purple mane braided with pink ribbons dotted with indigo violas or the horn twined with golden cord that caught my attention. Nor would it be the brassy chimes belching out the same tune over and over as I went round and round that charmed me.

No, my quest would be found in the steam rising from the brassy pipes, steam that swirled up and out of the hole in the top of the undulating circus tent. A hole small enough not to be noticed to break the elegant lines coming almost to a perfect point, shading us from too hot sun and the occasional raindrops of summer on the plains. Yet it was a hole large enough for steam to make an escape. 

I sat not on a tiger or elephant or giraffe, but nestled myself in the tufted red leather booths reserved for lovers, who sneaked kisses when no one else would be looking, not realizing that it was the rising beasts near their secluded nooks that were the first to be snatched up for the privilege of watching their show and then the bragging rights thereafter.

I sat by myself, stretched out, arms crossed over my chest staring straight up at the steam rising. I let myself be woven into its breath and carried up and out into the awaiting blue, zippering the tiny hatch behind me after my escape.

I rose above the carnival and its merrymaking. I could see hysterical figures like Mexican jumping beans, those little boxed booby prizes for those not lucky enough for a real carny award, pointing to the sky and at me rising, rising. 

The liberated steam melded into the atmosphere now free to roam the universe. And I would keep rising, too, without wings, without wind, without aid from any source. I would roam to whatever caught my eye, be it above or below. 

When I tired, not of travel but of amazement, I would lower back down to the tent, unzip the pocket and settle back into the arms of the red leather puff just in time as the carousel waned, slower and slower until a complete stop jolted a halt to my adventure. 

And the children would slide off their noble steeds and go skipping to their next amusement under the red hot summer sun smiling down upon our little piece of heaven.




Author’t Note:

Ahhhh. Our little writer’s group met today for a reunion of sorts. We have been on a very long hiatus, as one member described it.

It was a lovely morning of honoring the voices of four brilliant women whose lives pulled us apart for a while. What joy to be joined together again.

We used The Write-Brain Workbook, 366 Exercises To Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer. The challenge given: eighteen words of which we were to choose six and use the starting line – “I was completely captivated, like a…”

We wrote for a bit over a half an hour and shared. Our pieces are not polished and it takes a bit of bravery to post them. But it is fun to share none the less.

My words were:

quest   undulate   viola   zipper   calliope  hysterical

Thank you, Niki, Diane, Sheila and me! I am so very honored to be in such lovely company.