Julia and Michael were enjoying a warm summer day with Flora at the local county fair. This was the first time Flora had gone when she could really interact and enjoy the goings on. Michael was happy he wasn’t lugging around the bulky stroller filled with anything and everything Flora may want just to keep her quiet, and Julia was happy the days of changing diapers was over. At four, Flora was now in her travel stroller and tethered to it like a little puppy. Yes, Flora was a leash child. She didn’t mind one bit.
After being unleashed, Flora ran through the children’s petting zoo like a fox in a hen house. There was not an animal that went untouched. Julia laughed as the baby goats ran in terror from her little terror, but Michael wasn’t paying attention. He had his eyes on the tilt-o-whirl ride they loved to go on before Flora was born. Julia looked at Michael and felt bad.
“Mommy! Did you see? Did you?”
Julia latched Flora back to the stroller and smiled. “Yes, I saw! Did you love it?”
Michael sighed and smiled at his family. “Where to now?’
They wandered around the midway and looked at all the rides and games. As they walked, Julia debated whether it would be a good idea or not, and on their third trip by the ride, she decided. “Let’s do it.”
Michael looked at her confused. “Do what?”
“Let’s take Flora on her first tilt-o-whirl trip.” Julia grinned.
Michael raised one eyebrow and looked at her. “Seriously? Flora?”
“Wanna go! Wanna go! Spin! Spin!” Flora shouted.
Michael grinned but was still not too sure it was a good idea. He assumed the ride operator would say that Flora was too young or too small, but he didn’t.
Julia strapped in on one side of the ride and Michael strapped in on the other. Flora stood in between her father’s legs, clutched his knees and was strapped to the bars by the operator.
“Big leash!” Flora shouted.
Everyone laughed as the ride operator tugged at everyone’s straps and confines, then left the ride.
Suddenly the ride lurched and started spinning. Julia hadn’t screamed in fun that much since before Flora was born. The spinning set Michael free for just a few minutes. Free from a job he hated, an expensive mortgage, and free from parenthood for two minutes and thirty seconds. Flora shouted the loudest.
When the ride was done everyone was laughing – everyone except Flora. She stood panting, eyes wide and a face contorted by her smile. No one could keep a straight face when they looked at Flora.
She had collected every stray lollipop, piece of popcorn, a few earrings, and even a set of false teeth in the cotton candy that now covered her Dora dress.
“Ah man, where’s a camera when you need one?” Michael looked for a clean spot to grab hold of Flora, but there wasn’t one.
“How about a run in the fountain, Flora?” Julia asked. “Does that sound like fun?”
Flora stood in silence, panting. Then she blinked and screamed, “AGAIN!”
This short was inspired by FOWC with Fandango – camera, and the newly reborn 3TC – lollipop, fountain, trip