#77 My Father and I Wait Again For Amtrak’s 8:59

by Barbara Ellen Baldwin

Familiar hills are arranged in soft blue-green folds. Planets move above June’s pink horizon. When the train rushes in, we walk together. Silver cars racket past, faces in windows blurred. I notice a spinning top of color high above, twirling over pawn shops and taverns, six blocks over.

The Carnival! It’s back! There are rides we’ve missed, crumpled dollars and quarters left to spend, nights rich with blue cotton candy, waiting. I recall that joy of sticky darkness, hear barkers faintly calling names.

“Oh, that’s Wally’s bar!” Dad laughs. He hands over my suitcase. I’m jostled aboard, claiming my hug, transfixed, blocking egress. The conductor hustles me up the stair, blue neon rail Oz-like and surreal. He’s pleased when I’m seated upright, clutching a Chiclet-sized pillow, and a punched ticket. Dad stands under the WENATCHEE sign, waiting for wheels.

I see lights above, peach and pear, watercoloring hometown sky.

As the coach lumbers off, passengers clutch work schedules, sealed behind curtains and glass. In 1940’s movies, The Cord, when touched, rewrites scripts and destiny: I pull down on every device in sight. The train brakes, metal scraping. Everyone looks my way, hoping for no Monday mornings, no summer’s end, no going back.

Wally’s Carnival is sweet tin music, soft ice cream, Tilt-A-Whirls, goldfish-in-bowls, and Ferris Wheels, turning. Dad starts his engine. Riders stream from the train. They leave useless things behind, happy, pockets jangling with change.


Sam Knight said...

So many wonderful images and colors! I felt almost sticky reading about carnivals and everything fruit colored!

Flutterby said...

Love this imagery. Very rich!