Ridley sat in the Bar contemplating the events of last week. She was allowed in the Bar, but just not allowed to sit at the actual BAR part of the establishment. She was here on business. An invitation to an environmental forum was sent to her apartment, and Ridley was the most competent representative in the household. Upon opening the invitation, it seemed of great importance, but now that she was here, the only thing keeping her from dozing off was remembering the events of last Thursday…
The minute Ridley saw the Ringmaster’s eyes, she determined that the circus was a magic one. In her head she referred to it as “the Magic Circus,” Young as she was, Ridley knew deep down that magic wasn’t real, but at 9 years old, she still needed magic enough to be able to find traces of it in real life.
That morning she had woken up early and headed off to the grocery store, a tiny crocheted bag full of change jingling in her pockets. One of her main sources of income was collecting spare change she found and saving it up until she had enough to take to the CoinStar at the grocery store and exchange it for cash. The little girl’s yellow raincoat stood out, bobbing down Applewood Lane in the gloom. The rain had subsided in Winthrop, but Ridley was still feeling cautious about trusting the weather.
The automatic doors slid open for Ridley and she stepped into the store. The kid walked with such conviction that sometimes it seemed normal that she was unaccompanied in a grocery store. Ridley was born and raised in this town, and for years now she’d been doing her own thing. Most of the longtime residents were used to seeing her out alone by now, but a lot of people were moving in this year, and the strange glances cast Ridley’s way moved to town with them, but the girl paid no attention to that.
Today, she moved swiftly and purposefully. First, she hit the CoinStar, and exchanged the machine voucher for her $13.37 in cash at the Customer Service counter. Then she got what she needed and was gone, with exactly enough money leftover to buy her circus ticket, and a box of Crayola colored pencils.
Ridley bought her ticket on her way back to the Winthrop Place apartments.
Unintentionally, the crowd kind of split around her, so it was just Ridley looking up at the Ringmaster with a look that could only be described as defiant. This was one little girl who would not be intimidated by any strangers in town.“One ticket, please”