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"Maybe next time," he says, "I promise."

Disconcerted, I hand the phone to my mother; she yells at him, calls me "his responsibilty," and demands to know "why?"

He picks me up at seven on Friday.

The fair ground is alive and fluorscent; he holds my hand; he too, expresses adversion to the ferris wheel; he tells me he misses me, puts his arm around me, but my attention is diverted.

Teddy bears hang from a booth; a man yells "just a buck, try your luck, and see if you can knock 'em down," but my dad never stops; he pulls me forward, our eyes meet, and for the first time, I feel his shame.

"Maybe next time," he says while squeezing my hand, "I promise," and my heart breaks.

Story by:

P. Keith Boran

submitted at 9:33pm

13 June 2011