Her jeans grew damp from the wet grass as she watched the fireworks light up the night sky. It was getting closer and closer to her birthday, and she was watching the fireworks with her family.
“CRACK! BOOM! SIZZLE!” The loud noises from the fireworks frequently startled Natalia, but she loved the beautiful sight of them and how they covered the fogged up sky with an explosion of color. She had never seen something so beautiful before.
Sometimes the fireworks would be cool shapes or even characters. She always loved looking at those from a young age. She always wondered how they are made, how fun it must be to make them, how colorful her hands would be.
It made her remember how she used to play with chalk as a kid, she would go outside with her little box of chalk and draw little characters and scenes on the sidewalk. By the time she’d go back inside her hands would be covered in colorful chalk dust. Most of the time the dust would get all over her face and clothes, causing her mother to give her a bath. Nathalia always enjoyed bathing, the warm water, her toys. She always had fun, and laughed with her mom, playing with her Barbie dolls in the water, and washing their hair when her mother washed hers.
She missed that, being taken care of. Of course, her mother was still always there for her, but now she was independent. And most of all, lived on her own.
“BOOM!” Her whole body jumped, she had zoned out, thinking about her past. She looked around and saw her sister looking at her.
“You good?” Leah asked. Nathalia looked straight at Leah, Leah was her youngest sibling.
“Yeah, I’m okay, the fireworks just startled me,” Nathalia replied. She hoped her sister would leave her alone after that, of course, she didn’t care, but she rather not try to listen to people speak over fireworks. She rather just enjoy them. Looking back up into the sky, she reached into her pocket. They were by a carnival, and she was given a ticket to enter it, of course, she wasn’t sure if she wanted too or not, only her brother got a ticket too and he didn’t want to go.
Her mother spoke to her and her brother, almost screaming over the fireworks. Nathalia whipped around to look at her mother, she was tapping on her son’s shoulder and looking at Natalia.
“You two should go to the carnival together! You two haven’t spent much time together since we came here.” Her mother exclaimed. Of course, Natalia was thinking about how much she would dread going with her brother, he was a jerk to her. She didn’t want to deal with him whining to leave and run off and go ‘hang out’ with friends. Natalia just nodded and sighed, and looked at her older brother that surprisingly wasn’t making a big deal out of this.
She had only ever gone to the carnival twice since moving to New York with her family. It was a nice area more toward the urban side of the city. She went to the carnival once with her friend that lived close, and another time by herself. Of course, going by herself mean boredom because all she could do is ride the rides and not have anybody to talk too. Natalia didn’t want this happening again because it wasn’t the safest place in the world to be, and she knew that if she went her brother would just leave right away.
“Of course mom, I’ll go.” Her brother nodded back at Natalia and started walking off, and she followed. Once they were further enough away from the fireworks, her brother stops to look at her.
“Why did you agree to this? You know I hate carnivals, Tessa.” Clayton said almost angry. He hadn’t used Natalia’s nickname since before they moved here, it was almost strange.
“Since when did you agree to anything? And since when have you wanted to call me by my nickname?” She furrowed her brows and looked down at her feet. That day she was wearing her favorite pair of shoes, a white pair with a small black flower pattern all over, the rim was an off-white. The shoes were from goodwill, she went there often to get cheap clothing and sometimes gifts for her friends when she doesn’t have a lot of money to spare.
“Since mom yelled at me last night about being a jerk to you,” Clayton said softly to her.
“Why didn’t I hear mom yelling?” She asked. She started to fiddle with her fingers, still looking down.
“Look. You don’t need to worry about that.” He rested his hand on her shoulder, knowing her, she shrugged it off.
Photo by Jacob Strathearn