midsummer and you are left half-blind your little brother’s hand in yours sticky with melted dippin’ dots as he tugs you over to the line come on his tongue glazed cotton candy pink i’ve never been on one with loops in it he runs past the kiddie ride and eyes it all smug maturity like he’d never once had the time of his life yelling down the five foot drop remember when the span of his hand fit neatly within your palm when he looked at you and not beyond you he jumps the line and you let him do it he challenges the sun to a staring contest and you don’t know at what point he lost his sunglasses but no matter how he leans forward on his tippy toes a bird unconvinced that it’s wingless he is still one and a quarter inches too short to ride the vortex you’ve never been able to tell him no and you wonder how this sun-dazed high school sophomore can do it so easily sorry kid and how your little brother still hasn’t let go of your hand lips quivering pupils flaring like twin suns breath breaking its way out his throat uncomprehending of his own youth he says please he says it’s not fair he says i don’t wanna ride the kiddie one he says tell me what it’s like and you say it’s almost falling you say it’s almost tripping you say it’s almost running downhill to the creek like we used to you’ve never said no to him you don’t know how but he hears it anyway your little brother stares up at you as you inch towards the drop and you feel the distance between you and him unspool your stomach and yank it back to where he wonders at you like an answer to a question he doesn’t know how to ask just before you fall you reach half-blinded for the sun and you miss it by one and a quarter inches.
Sandhya Ganesan is a junior in high school from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. When she isn't writing, she enjoys daydreaming and drinking jasmine tea. You can find her on Twitter at @sungslept.