“Delaware, wake up.. We’ve got to get going.”
Delaware moaned and hid her head underneath the covers. It was her father’s voice that woke her up every morning for the past eight years. Many thought that she had her father home when she told them this, when in reality, his calls ceased to ring through the house as time went on.
She remembered that day where she wore her Hello Kitty pants, which she wore everywhere she went until Mama would chase her throughout the house with a laundry basket bouncing at her hip. Her parents took her to an ice cream parlor with smiles on their faces.
Their smiles were different that day. They stretched over their teeth forcibly, like a slinky straightened to its’ limits. She asked for two scoops, waiting for a pinch on her shoulder to just get one. It never came. She pointed excitedly to the gummy bears in the corner, and when the cashier asked if she wanted anything else, her parents displayed blank faces. Delaware decided to risk another pinch by saying yes and pointing to the cheesecake bits. The pinch never came.
She sat down across from her parents. “Where’s your ice cream, Mama?” She asked.
“Delaware, we have to tell you something.” Mama told her before hesitating and glancing at Dad.
“Your mother and I decided to split.” Dad said.
“Your mother and I?” Mama snapped. “Excuse me, but I wasn’t the one who got ‘bored’ on a Saturday night-”
“You left me first, Emmy!” Dad snapped. “You and your pathetic boss!”
“Oh, really? Who was the one who got caught with-”
“You’re not as innocent as you think you are! I bet Delaware isn’t even mine!”
“She is too! Do you really think I fabricated the results?”
“Well, I wouldn’t be surprised.” Dad snapped right back.
They were yelling again. Delaware’s appetite for the two scoops of ice cream diminished. The smiling gummy bears seemed to taunt her with their happiness and her lack of it.
She slowly stood up and made sure to not let the bell at the door clank scandalously. Outside, a rusting carousel invited her to sit down next to its’ children. She leaned against a fleeting white horse and sighed.
Splitting up. Again. For the third time in her life. She already knew how it was going to happen. She would go from house to house, car to car, and every time, Mama would have a message to pass on to Dad, and Dad would have a nasty reply to send back to Mama. They would sneer at each other when they had to pass her back and forth like a football.
But just like the carousel, the world kept spinning. Time kept going. Life passed along at its’ own place. The animal you’re on may seem stuck to the ground, but everything around you keeps spinning and spinning, changing and blurring together, until one day, it stops. Your ride on life is over. It’s time for you to step off and let a young, wide-eyed child take your seat on the carousel. You’ll lay your head on a soft pillow, and give watch the child spin until the warm darkness blinds you and the silence of the coffin deafens your ears. And the carousel, the world, and life will continue to spin on. May Delaware rest in peace, and never have to wake up and hear her father’s voice inside her head ever again.