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When I was a little girl, the sight of a Merry Go Round would send me into uncontrollable squeals of laughter. It didn’t matter what I was doing or where we were, as soon as I saw it, I would begin to jump up and down and scream “Rocky!”, my hands clapping in excitement. I would take off towards it (always to the alarmed disapproval of the adult I was with), my beaming smile and lit up face keeping me from being scolded and told “no” when they finally caught up with me; I think my loved ones had just as much fun watching me go round’ and round’ in circles, the sounds of my giggles ringing in the air.

Now, as an adult, all I want to do is get off this ride. But here it is, about to go around again.

Watching a shiny ball drop in the middle of time square, where there will be thousands of cheerfully drunk New Yorker’s–over half of them getting engaged–on a shiny flat screen does not appeal to me. Neither do the questions that individuals feel inclined to ask, like “What are you giving up this year?” or “What are your goals next year?”. The answers to those things are so overwhelmingly abundant, I despise the noisy homosapien who blurted them out. When asked, all I can do is stare ahead, feeling like a bright eyed deer caught in even brighter headlights.

…I’d like to be as rich as the homeless clown I pass on my way to work everyday.

What don’t I want to change? What aren’t my goals? Those questions would be easier to answer.

To start with, I’d like to be as rich as the homeless clown I pass on my way to work everyday. There he stands every morning, on the corner next to Walgreens, dressed up in some ridiculous attire to resemble a clown, Santa Claus, the Grinch,–you name it–which he purchased from some thrift store. There he stands every morning, with his
truck parked on the side of the street (only a few feet away from him), texting on his cell phone while he sells pamphlets to anyone who will roll down their window and fork out the necessary change. Every morning, as I am waiting for the light to turn green, I can feel his eyes piercing through the windshield of my car. I am careful to avoid making eye contact, least I want his crudely painted face plastered against my driver’s side window.

I wish I was rich enough to buy a new costume everyday, to beg for money while texting on my brand new phone. Instead, I waste my days away by going to work and washing my clothes in a bath tub since I cannot afford to do laundry. There have been a few times that I was tempted to roll down my window and ask him if he had any spare change so I could get gas to make it to work. I’ve managed to suppress the desire, however. I suppose it’s for the better.

I have not yet decided if a ring means endless love or an endless cycle.

Then there are the expectations and wishes of marriage from the elders in my family. Unlike most of the blissful, so-in-love twenty-something-year-old couples, my relationship has not had the fortune of being young and free. I have not yet decided if a ring means endless love or an endless cycle. Maybe it’s more like a Circus Ring, full of different acts, beauty, craziness, danger, and excitement. My desires, for now, are just for this relationship to survive, to get off this tight rope I’ve been walking for months–my feet hurt.

For this new years, I do not expect much. Sure, I can wish for things to change, and I can make an effort to change the things I do not like, but little can come from my efforts and wishful thinking if I’m still stuck on this Merry Go Round; every year, I end up right back where I started, a little more nauseous each time.

Olivia Red