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Eva bent down to tie her shoe. When she looked up, she had already lost her best friend.
“Hayley!” She called out.
Hayley turned around and took Eva’s hand, and Eva once again joined Hayley and her family.

Her school had two carnivals a year: one on Halloween and one in the springtime. Eva’s favourite was the one on Halloween, because everybody dressed up and the cafeteria turned into a haunted house. But the springtime one was definitely her fourth favourite day of the year – well, after Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween.
By April the air was already beginning to fill with heat, so the carnival always featured a dunk tank, water balloon fights, and water guns. She loved every one of them.

Hayley and Eva did everything together, and wherever Eva went, Hayley would follow. Hayley’s parents had a lot more time to play than Eva’s, so Eva considered them like her second family.
Except at the carnival, Eva knew she couldn’t pretend that she was a part of their family. It was one of the few days in the year, like on Christmas and Thanksgiving, where you really had to be with your own family to appreciate the day.

Everywhere she turned there were activities for kids and their parents.
The potato bag race was on Eva’s left. The father-daughter pie-eating contest was straight ahead. And of course, Eva’s favorite, the dunk tank, had a sign that said, Whoever can dunk their dad the most amount of times wins a hand in the candy bucket!
Eva never dunked her dad, ate pies with him, or raced in potato sacks with him. Her dad never came to see her school plays, made her lunch, or took her shopping. And today, Eva simply couldn’t pretend that Hayley’s dad could replace hers.

As Hayley and her father started to see who could blow their bubble gums the largest, Eva went to the other end of the carnival to throw as many darts as she could into the balloons.

She went home that day with a giant stuffed teddy bear.

words: Seema Duggal


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