Day one of the September Writing Challenge over at WordBohemia.co.uk, based on the picture prompt below. More to come I hope!
Daddy promises me he’d be waiting when I got off the Ferris Wheel.
“You know I how I am with heights, my darling.” He kisses my hair, and I can feel the itch of his stubble, the smell of Woodbines, the slight tang of alcohol off his breath. He lets me run over to the sullen attendant, a young man with bad teeth, who doesn’t return my smile, but lifts the gate and lets me aboard.
Ferris wheels are kind of dull on your own. The sedate pace is perfect for conversation, for observing the word below. But there’s no-one to point anything out to, on your own.
On the first rotation, I see him below, standing on the pier. He looks scruffy and bored. He doesn’t look up.
Up here, the sea air is stronger. The gulls get buffeted by the breeze. I can see them trying to fly out to sea. As the wheel descends, the smell of the fairground hits me; popcorn and sawdust.
On the second rotation, he is gone. No longer standing where he said he’d stay. I scan the crowd but I cannot see him anywhere. There are nothing but families, excited children, patient mothers, indulgent fathers.
One more rotation to go. It is the longest of all. I keep looking. Maybe he has just gone to get me candyfloss. Or himself a beer.
When I finally descend on the wood, my feet beating against the slats, I frantically search. I ask every person I see. “Have you see my daddy?” My voice sounds desperate, childish. I want to sound older than ten. I want it to be casual, calm. I am failing,
But he’s gone.