Abby closed the shop early Friday. The ladies quilting auxiliary was just going to have to do without further sewing notions until after the weekend’s festivities. After all, the carnival only came into town once a year, and it was perhaps the only joyful thing she and her twin sister Gabby still shared.
In fact, it may have been the only joyful thing they had ever shared. Fraternal, as twins go, they had never even shared the same ova. As infants, Gabby took over the lion’s share of their harried mothers time as she developed the colic straight off, and as mother had enjoyed telling it, “After finding out how well it worked, stayed with it until she was nearly three.”
Leaving Abby, although physically much frailer than her ever wailing sister, to busy herself with curiosities. She could entertain herself for hours, her green eyes sparkling with mischief, as she orchestrated the dance of myriads of sugar ants with deftly placed drops of jelly which she squeezed from a slice of white bread.
When Abby had taken over the running of their now deceased fathers sewing shop in town after graduation, Gabby had gone off to Wellesley on a rowing scholarship. Her above average height and thick musculature making her a godsend for a team that had not placed well in three seasons running and was desperate to win a cup.
Gabby’s tenure at Wellesley had been tenuous at best, given her hot head and inability to back down once a fighting stance had been assumed. Although those were the very same qualities that made her an unstoppable force on a rowing crew, they had made her less than popular with the faculty, and quite the pariah amongst the all female student body. Which in turn, made making friends difficult, and finding ‘the girl of her dreams’ an impossibility.
So distressed is a lacking descriptor for the way Abby felt when she arrived home from work early that Friday afternoon to find Gabby already tucked away in the darkness of her childhood bedroom, silently bemoaning the fact she had graduated college as of yet untouched, while outwardly boisterous in her refusal to go to the carnival’s grand opening ceremonies.
“But we’ve got to go!” Abby pleaded. “We’ve never missed a year! Pennywhistle bands, cotton candy on a cone, babies with two heads in jars of formaldehyde! Why I hear they have even added a strong woman this year! Gargantuan Glenda she calls herself. The paper says she can juggle three small men wearing cast iron boxers without so much as rattling a single hair out of place!”
That last bit spurred a smile so genuine, it all but distracted from the prominence of Gabby’s chipped left front tooth. Intrigued, she sat up and gathered her long chestnut locks into a knot at the back of her head. Although still distressed at never having known the pleasures of a woman, the prospect of meeting one purported as at least equal in size – especially one so prolific in her accomplishments- was titillating indeed.
The twins were seated center grandstand when the carnivals opening parade began, Gabby already devouring a hand dipped corn dog and a funnel of greasy home cut fries. Abby, betwixt delicate licks of a shiny red candied apple, was ‘ooing and ahing’ over each act as it paraded past- hardly noticing that Gabby was silently awaiting her first glance at Gargantuan Glenda.
Finally, there she was. In all her golden lamé splendor, pecs glistening in the late afternoon sun. Gabby quite forgetting her surroundings, let go with a resounding wolf whistle, that succeeded in doing more than just turning a few heads in the grandstands. It got Glenda’s attention and her yellow bouffanted head spun on its steely sinuous neck until the two of them locked eyes.
Gabby then let loose with what she knew to be her most attractive attribute, a cascade of glowing chestnut ringlets, which tumbled down well past her shoulders, and glimmered as she shook them with delight. Had she been a horse she would have whinnied, so great was her excitement.
Abby, too caught up in her own joy at her sisters new found enthusiasm to understand the significance of the mating dance being played out between her sister and this vision in gold lamé, was slightly befuddled when Gabby suggested she go on ahead to the Tent of Freaks, and she would catch up with her there later.
Having lost her taste for two headed snakes and midgets who smoked cigarettes with their toes after three go arounds, Abby stood quite dejectedly, outside the entrance of the Tent of Freaks waiting for Gabby until the crowd thinned and the carnies were showing signs of packing it in, before calling it a night.
She awakened the following morning, ready to give Gabby a real piece of her mind, but was greeted instead by a note leaning against the sugar bowl in Gabby’s scrawling hand. In short, it advised her that Gabby had run off with Gargantuan Glenda, followed her to Selma, where she was set to headline her own act in the upcoming Dallas County Fair.
Abby’s temper flared. How dare she! Her own sister! Why there was a word for people like that!
Ever the peacemaker, however, her angst burned away as quickly as it had flared.
“Yes.” she said aloud, if only to herself. “There is a word for people like that. And the word is love.”
Abby skipped the remaining days at the carnival, opting instead to lay out squares for a very special quilt. She would have to work around the clock, maybe even keep the shop closed the whole of next week, if she was going to finish it in time.
But she would do it and she would be there, on opening day of the Dallas County Fair, adding that day to the newly expanded list of joys she and her sister shared.
This week tnkerr wrote two character studies on the lead in post to the weeks OLWG#130 prompts. I took those characterizations and ran with them. Including the three phrasal prompts of course. The prompts were:
1. Pennywhistle Band
2. followed her to Selma
3. love’s the word