Watch Them, Catch Them

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Vacation photos

He waited patiently at first.

"I'll be right back," she said.  "Just one minute."

He couldn't read the clock on the big building or the watches on the swinging stranger wrists but he knew a minute must have passed because the balloon he was holding had lifted from his fingers and into the sky.  He reached for it at first but it moved too fast for his little hands and instead he watched it fade to a tiny black dot in the sky.  The freckle on the inside of his second finger was bigger than his balloon, and then it was gone.

After that he tried to remember the song she had been singing to him.  He whispered it to himself as he found the words.  

If you go out in the woods today
You better go in disguise
If you go out in the woods today
You're in for a big surprise...

He shivered as the sun began to sink and he knew she wasn't coming back.  He cried, but not for long.  The lights of the ferris wheel were rising up bright, whirling and twirling before him like a fantasy.  He was going to wait there, he decided.  She'd be able to find him in the brightest lights.

For every bear that ever that was
Will gather there together because
Today's the day teddy bears have their picnic

He liked the idea of all those bears sharing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and stories about the day.  He wished he could be there too, in the green of the grass and the soft summer air.  His hands were cotton candy sticky and his tongue tasted like yesterday's bread.  He found a drinking fountain but couldn't reach.  Instead he sat down on a red bench, his eyes growing heavy.

"Mommy," he said, laying his head down.  He would just sleep for a minute, just a minute.  

In dreams she called his name and held him in her arms.  In dreams she smoothed back his hair and said "There you are," and never let him out of her sight again.  And when he woke up in the soft of his bed he thought nothing of it, thought nothing until he smelled the pancake and bacon smells and heard the echo of his mother's voice.

Six o'clock their mommies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
'Cause their tired little teddy bears
'Cause their tired little teddy bears

It took all my power not to let this end terribly.  Mother never coming back and blue and red flashing lights, but I contained myself because I couldn't do that to this little boy.


  1. I'm so glad you didn't let it end badly. My heart was in my throat and I don't think I could have stood it.

  2. The pacing of this was well done. Even if it had ended badly, I liked the intertwining of the teddy bear picnic song

  3. I am very glad that you ended this on a more positive note. It gives the piece a surreal quality, almost. Was it all a dream or part dream? That is a question!