Sep 6, 2021 | Stories

Childhood Crush Ends

At the Alaska State Fair, I was finally alone cruising through the amusement booths looking for and really hoping to see Randy, the boy from sixth grade I had a crush on in the crowd.

Before I was always considered too young to wander on my own through the booths, spending my own money on the bean bag toss, the shooting range, and, of course, all the food booths.

Coke, candy, and, my favorites, the long-deep-fried bread sticks coated with powdered sugar; I ate my fill more than once.

Donuts, pies, breads, and every kind of baked good you could image were on display as I walked through the exhibits checking to see who won a blue ribbon while looking for my mother’s usual entry.

Eclairs, there was the sign I was looking for; I rushed over to see if Mom was a winner.

Finally, Mom had a blue ribbon after all the years she had entered the state fair bakery contests.

Good for her; I thought to myself, she’s wanted this for so many years, I can’t remember how long.

Hoping now that Dad won a prize again, I wandered through the garden exhibits.

I found the displays of huge cabbages, some almost a hundred pounds.

Just in Alaska can cabbages grow so big; it’s the twenty hours a day of summer sunlight that makes it happen.

Keep looking now, surely, I will find something from Dad’s garden here; where are the fruits?

Loaded on a table near the back of the tent, I found the fruit branches; Dad had submitted a branch from our cherry tree.

Moisture covered the limbs and table; they must have sprayed everything down trying to keep it all looking garden-fresh.

Naively, I’d expected that Dad would win the blue; he always had before but this time the neighbor down the road had the ribbon and Dad was runner-up.

Put that aside for now and go and enjoy your free time in the booths, I told myself.

Quadrangular was a word I learned last year in sixth grade and, suddenly. I knew what it really meant as I stood before the fairgrounds map looking at the four-sided shapes of the booths.

Really now, why am I thinking of school stuff, this is summer vacation; let’s go look around some more, I urged myself.

Squeezing past a lady with three kids, I maneuvered into a clear area where I could look down a line of booths I had not visited before.

The signs were puzzling as I read them: Siamese Twins, Bearded Lady, Tattooed Girl, Contortionist, Knife Thrower.

Unceremoniously, I was pushed aside as a group of boys hurried past down the row of booths.

“Wait,” I called seeing Randy with them; I ran trying to catch up.

X-ray Woman, I read the sign as I watched Randy and the other boys take a quick look around and then duck into the booth.

“You Can See All,” I read the sign as I heard laughter coming from inside, “All the Secrets of a Woman Here.”

Zig-zagging through the crowd, I ran toward the parking lot to hide in the car; I only wanted to get there before the tears came.


This is an example of a story written in abecedarian style.


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