Valerie watched intently as her cousin threw 30 or 40 ping pong balls at the little bowls, trying to win a fish. She watched wide-eyed as the man handed her cousin a plastic bag with a little, glittering goldfish swimming around at the bottom.
And then, before I could usher her away, the man looked at her, smiled, and said, "I don't know where you came from, but you can have one, too."
She walked towards me, beaming, carrying her prize. Then she dropped the bag.
The fish survived the fall (and the next one, when her heartbroken pleas convinced me to give her another chance at carrying it).
"It's a girl fish, Mama! Her name is Fishy!"
And in the midst of her rejoicing, all I could think was, great, now I need to buy a fish bowl, fish food, a little net, and in ten days or so, I'm probably going to have to have an uncomfortable conversation about mortality.
Thanks a lot, Carnival Guy, for the "free" fish.