by Mercy Loomis
Copyright 2011 by Mercy Loomis
Originally published in The Big Book of Bizarro, ed. Rich Bottles Jr and Gary Lee Vincent. Bridgeport, WV. Burning Bulb Publishing, 2011.
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This is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead (or undead), is entirely coincidental.
The school carnival is a tradition older than I am, one that sweeps through my hometown each year with the same weighty inevitability of harvest-time. With no children of my own, I find myself attending more out of nostalgia than anything else. The halls of the elementary school are narrower than I remember, and children dart around me on their way from one activity to another, trailing glazed-eyed parents in their wake like embers from a sparkler.
The hallway walls are covered with art, each class showing off the young talent. I meander through the long corridors with no agenda save stopping outside my old classrooms and peering in at memories, listening to the chaos and looking at the pictures on the walls. The round yellow suns, the slash-of-blue skies, the m-shaped birds are all sort of comforting; there'd been no computers in my classrooms as a child, and even television had been a rare treat. Those familiar symbols remind me that, then as now, children see the world with the same eyes.