A Short Story: Jane's 'She Wept'

1013 Words 5 Pages
She Wept “There’s the Bridge, oh, and the Opera House too! Look, Sara, the harbour is just like a postcard…,” Jane simply breathed her amazement. With nose pressed against the window of the Ferris wheel carriage, she continued her awed narration as we began our final, rounded descent. Lollipop roofs on canvas tents. Sun glinting off the polished brass poles of the carousel. People darting about, miniature, with all the frenzy of a colony of ants. The huge, manic mouth of Luna Park was ever hungry, greedily swallowing the frantic flow of families. It was then, as we drew closer to the ground, that I noticed a flaw, a great blemish in the rich tapestry of carnival colour. A woman. She sat on a bench beside the duck-shooting gallery. A woman …show more content…
“So where to now?” Jane’s excitement was, for once, not so infectious. “Shooting gallery,” I mumbled absent-mindedly. We fell into line behind a wailing little boy who, with nose dribbling into his fairy floss, clawed at his mother’s leg with sticky insistence. She paid him scant attention, yet when his screeches reached an alarming decibel, irritably slapped his hand away. I noticed a quick flash of guilty embarrassment slide across her face as she looked up, drawn by the sight of the weeping woman’s shuddering shoulders. By now, the woman had begun to attract interest. It was as though a message had rippled through Luna Park; perhaps the clowns whispered it to the children, the carousel horses whinnied to their riders, and the giant mouth shouted for all to hear: “There’s a woman down at the shooting gallery, weeping. No one can stop her.” “Look at her,” Jane mused in a low voice. “What has she got to cry about? Did you see the size of the rock on her finger?” she added, with little empathy. The line inched forward. An old woman joined the queue behind us, a sneer pinching its way across her parchment-like face as she eyed the woman warily. “What’s her problem?” she said to no one in …show more content…
The gift of her weeping spread like a yawn through the crowd, giving all of us a moment to grieve, to pause, to remember. The weeping woman’s shoulders rose and fell as she took a steadying, shuddering breath. The carousel horses rose and fell, and shuddered to a stop. The ride attendant stood by the control panel, confusion in her eyes. Then she wept. A security guard positioned outside the theatre shuffled his feet. Looking away from the crowd, he surreptitiously raised a meaty fist to his eye. But I saw. He wept. The snivelling little boy ahead of us stepped out. He walked over to the woman, stood at her feet and stared, silent now, mouth still slightly agape. His mother moved toward him and knelt down to meet her son eye-to-eye. Gently, she wiped his tear-streaked face, and taking his hand, led him away. There was a glistening in her eyes, a softening to her mouth. A sharp jab from Jane brought me back to reality. She pointed at the weeping woman, who was now standing. No one spoke. Luna Park froze. The woman straightened her dress, patted down her hair, delicately wiped the moisture from beneath her eyes, and stood tall. She took a deep, steadying breath. Then, with queenly grace, she walked away from

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