TITLE: Beyond Fair Street
GENRE: Contemporary Young Adult
Kandee competed in the fair queen contest hoping to win and earn money for a trip to Paris. She tripped, didn’t win and on the stage afterwards sees Mama (Crystal), Laralie (sister), Winona (neighbor), Zeke (coworker) but not her boyfriend.
There are so many people hugging contestants, exclaiming about how wonderful they were. They’re thrusting bouquets of flowers into manicured hands all around me while I stand empty and alone. I reach down and pulled off one shoe then the other. At least I don’t have to bother with them ever again. It feels so good to put my soles flat on the stage floor.
Arms encircle my waist. It’s Laralie. “You should have won. You were the prettiest one,” she says.
Sometimes she does come through for me.
Mama stands in front of me with Winona behind her. “Maybe if you hadn’t tripped up you might have been the queen,” Crystal says.
It’s hard to believe she has to criticize me here, now.
Winona steps around Crystal and puts a friendly arm around me, gently guiding me toward the stage exit. “I don’t think you should have done a thing differently. I’ve never been so proud.”
I appreciate the sentiment but if I had won, of course Winona would be more proud.
Looking past the women, I search for Troy. Maybe he’ll congratulate me, bring me flowers like Marissa’s boyfriend did. There are still a few people entering the stage but not him. There’s no one else for me, not even Dad.
Then I hear someone clearing his throat. I turn and see Zeke. He hands me one yellow rose with a pink ribbon tied to it. What’s just as surprising is that he also has a black eye.