The Show (Part 2)
A Short Story by Alice Clark
Written using the suggestion ""a thousand people just like me" "island" "teeth" "shame" "wrong" "underground""
Originally featured on 07-29-2009
As part of our series "Stories Written for Mel Favara’s “1,000 Words” Reading Series"

  Look at us. We’re the ones that keep living. We’re all still going. Even the people that you forgot about, some are still here, waiting to look older the next time you see them. A thousand people just like me, waiting. The people on the boardwalk are circling and it reminds me of participating in a cake walk, waiting for your number to come up. I see James walking and his grey hair reminds me that we can keep going for a long time.

We’re waiting on this island without the shame of doing wrong, because we’re not doing anything. We’re on vacation, spending the time and holding on by our teeth. What if there is an underground of waiters, storage space with extras of people you maybe forgot, that can be brought out at a moment’s notice to fit in place, when we need them.  I could use a grandmother this week. Somebody who has seen things and then gradually learned to ignore them. My melancholy is nauseating. It’s catchy and people know it.

I met James on my third night in town as I sat with my feet in the water on the boardwalk. He was 78 years old and told me that there were chemicals in the water and I better not put my feet in it. He had a cane that was more wore than together and I liked him for it. His willingness to let it break one day. To wear it out.

 

Read More By Alice Clark

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Portland Fiction Project

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