A few weeks after the Halloween party, I saw her at the County Fair, standing in line for the Gravitron. She was eating pastel blue cotton candy. It had been a hot Fall. It was just beginning to get cool as the sun went down. She waved to me.
“The elf? Right?” Leigh asked.
“Oh yeah. Sorry. You never came over to skate the ramp.” she said. There was an older guy with her. He had black hair, except for his bangs, which were bleached white and hung down across one side of his face. He brushed his bangs away and put his hand on her shoulder.
“This is Jared,” she said, as he ran his fingers through her hair and kissed her on the cheek.
“Hi,” I replied.
“So you’re gonna come over?” she asked.
“I’d like to.”
“Then do. This weekend if you want.”
“OK,” I said. She wrote down her number with an eyeliner pencil on the back of a candy bar wrapper. When she handed it to me, her fingers slightly touched the back of my hand.
“Really, come by. See you,” she said, as they entered the ride. I watched as the doors closed.
“Man, she’s hot. That guy’s a dick, I heard,” Cameron said.
I didn’t say anything. He smiled.
“No. You like her?”
“Sort of,” I said.
“Well, I just think she’s hot, so I guess I could lay off if you really like her.”
I walked around the rest of the night in a haze. The air was thick and noxious from the diesel smell of the rides, and sharp with the pungent odor of the livestock exhibits and rotting food in trash cans made from barrels, but it all mixed with the sweet scent of candied apples, cotton candy and popcorn, creating the wonderful smell of childhood nights spent at this same fairground, when the glowing, spinning lights of the giant Ferris Wheel were scary, yet exhilarating. That smell, sometimes so strong it was impossible not turn away and almost gag, that at other times was sugary and so sweet that you could almost taste it, was the setting for a parable that I could not have yet understood. An allegory of the bittersweet nature of our lives.
Adam Stanley Excerpt from All My Sins Remembered