I watch the milonga.
What are we waiting for?
An angel to fall from the ceiling into my lap.
Because none of these mortals here please me, nor I them.
Some ancient thing, some vestige, someone else’s dream – anything that will embrace me, lift me from this chair, and make the merry-go-round spin once more.
For we grown women have forgotten the bittersweet lesson of childhood.
The ride ends and what the one who loves you does is lift you from your favorite pony and bring you back down.
We are here in a little girl logic that someone will buy us another ride, and another, and the carnival will never end.
Sometimes we get a special pony. We swell with pride, cheeks bursting with overdue entitlement, believing this pony will never let his princess go.
… despite the glittering eyes of all these waiting little girls.
… despite the man with his hand on the wheel and the fistful of money, his open secret that no one wants to see.
But we keep flying in a fantasy of who we are supposed to be, smiles and ribbons and sparkling shoes, elevated above others’ pathways. Displayed and admired.
Our work –and it does feel like work– is to hide the mechanics, to stabilize the jerks and shakes so our hair and smile and dress is unperturbed, so that it seems the horse does not carry us, but we float alongside, as a peer.
Although we are admired for our dress and posture, and smile, our virtue is our forgiveness of the pony’s wobbles. We display this too, inside the princess smile.
I finger the cracks in the wood, his secret, now ours, which I will cherish. Knowing his faults gives the Grown little girl the fantasy that the ride will never end. I will wrap my heart around his imperfection and know he cannot leave me. The secret is our bond …
But the Grown up pony no longer fears his flaws. He sees the line of little girls. He sees the flash of green in the ticketmaster’s hands. A cruel conspiracy of silence as the machine cranks around. No one is responsible for hearts and their hope so easily given to wooden ponies.