Wind brushes past my ear and ruffles my hair. It’s a cold and gentle embrace that my heart can only welcome with feeble jitters.
The floor beneath me is raised up on zigzagged planks of wood, its pink paint wearing off. I remember when the paint was fresh—when I tripped and fell at its base and broke my tooth. The scratch in the paint hasn’t been covered up, but it’s harder to find. Now, where I used to wear little green shoes, their well-loved white ribbons tied into neat bows, are sandals, worn whitish-brown, hugging much larger feet. They’re too small, but I can’t bear to admit it.
They say you grow out of things, but I keep trying to fit.
My imagination has always been more vivid than reality. That’s why the dusty toys on my dresser bring tears to my eyes. Why this carousel was put out of commission years ago but I can still hear the song it played. I close my eyes and hum the tinny melody, rocking my head from left to right.
Time has been kind to the carousel horse I sit on. His cobalt and lace coat is vibrant in the flickering light. The glint in his eyes is so stubborn, he must think he could run a thousand miles. He doesn’t know how fragile he is. How fragile everything is.
Sometimes, when I’m sad, I go to the carousel. Like when they ripped the white ribbon off one of my little green shoes. Like when I learned we were moving houses. Like now.
Today, they told me. They told me my stories aren't real. That it's time to grow up, to find a place in the real world.
But if I forget my childhood, I'll forget myself.