The Show (Part 1)
The black flies didn’t deter the tourists. This was the coast and they wanted coast food. It was part of the show. Women with sweaty babies and their uninterested men waved to wait staff, trying to get their attention, to be seated. A family with a lumpy mother and three irritated children sat next to me, and they promptly rested their hands in the left over ketchup on the table. I sat in a red vinyl bench and reflected on the chowder, the picture on the menu somehow attracting flies.
I asked the waitress, with her gray hair and kind, tired eyes if the clams were taken from the nearby bay, and I immediately regretted it. She said they were shipped in from Boston. The children next to me squirmed and I thought about how it takes a village to raise a child and I wondered how this village would raise one.
I thought I might remain here, in this imposter village with its seaside shops and waitresses with their pessimism and cheerful hats. There was something nice about a show. The way the candy shops had smells of air born sugar and the walkways were concrete, covered in carefully selected aged wood, to echo seafaring themes. There seemed to be nothing truly wrong with this, it was somehow purer in the show, and I am still here two days later, waiting for the allure of the show to break for me, for it to turn into labor and sad mornings, as most places do.
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Portland Fiction Project
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