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     “The Fair”
 
He was still
trying to decide
whether or not
to hold her
hand
when she
reached over
and took
his
sliding her
fingers
into his
then pulling
their two hands
closer to her
till the back
of his hand
was held by
her
tightly pressed up
against
her hip
as they wandered
around
the county fair,
she hadn’t given
holding his
hand
a second’s
thought
she did what
she felt
when she
felt it
and his hand
in hers
is what she
wanted to feel,
he was surprised
when her fingers
locked on to
his
and relieved
at not having
to
make a choice
he always puts
so much thought
into such
small decisions,
though
he would have
liked to have
wiped the sweat
off his hand
first
next time
he’ll be better
prepared
he tells himself,
he lets her
lead the way
through the busy
mid-way
not that she
stayed in any
one direction
for long
she bounced off
people and
carny booths
one after the
other
yet stopping
to pet
every little
dog
that crossed
her path
all the time
keeping his
hand
held tightly
against her,
he felt a
step behind
just trying to
keep up with
her
she had to
see
touch
and taste
everything
around her
he loved her
free spirit
she made
everyone else
seem so boring
as if she was
always on stage
but not
trying to be,
she pulls him
into a ring toss
booth
she wants him
to win her
a stuffed teddy
bear
a simple game
that took him
seven tries
before he was
able to win
the bear
he was all
smiles
when he
handed it
to her
she gave him
a little hug
with a
“your so sweet”
following
right behind it
then spun around
and gave the
teddy
to a little
girl
who wasn’t winning
anything
not planned
he could tell
it’s just her
style
the little girl’s
face
exploded with
excitement
which she
didn’t wait to
see
already pulling
him
towards a fresh
lemonade stand
“would you like”
“a large one”
he asks her
“or if your just”
“going to give it”
“away”
“I’ll get you a small”
she just looks
at him
and smiles
“Oh, the bear”
she says
“I just wanted you”
“to win it”
“for me”
“and you did”
“giving it to”
“the little girl”
“made us both”
“happy”
“you doubled”
“your returns”
“on happiness”
“with just one”
“bear”
“I’ll take a large”
“two straws please”
she says
she’s still
keeping him close
with her right
hand
and holding the
drink
with her left,
holding it up
to his mouth
with both
straws
every now
and then
so he could
catch a drink
as she marched
them around
the fairgrounds,
she pulled him
into a line
for the
Ferris wheel
a boring ride
he would have
never paid
to go on
“it will be worth it”
she tells him
“besides”
“I am paying for this”
the large wheel
slowly moves along
stopping each time
a car
comes to the
top
when they reach
it
the view seems
enchanted
with her
sitting so close
to him
still holding his
hand
next to her
“look over there”
she said
and as he turned
to look
she gave him
a quick kiss
on the lips
he was lost
in a dream
as the wheel
worked its way
back down
he had
so much to
say
to her
as their feet
softly touched
the ground
his mind
shuffling through
all the questions
he wanted to
pose to her
he’s finally
ready
to take the
lead
when she pulls
him
by the hand
then stops
in the middle
of the mid-way
and waves to
two adults
she hugs him
tightly
“I’ve had such”
“a great time”
“these last few”
“hours”
she tells him
“I knew I’d like you”
“as soon as I saw you”
“I just had to meet you”
he watched her
run towards
who he thinks
are her parents
she hugs them
both
before all three
turn
and start to
disappear
in the maze
of people
he just stood
there
waiting
and hoping
that this beautiful
day
wouldn’t end
when she suddenly
stops
and turns back
around
to face him
and for that
briefest of
moments
on the mid-way,
time
and everyone else
stood still
for him
as she
said goodbye
to him
once more
with her
eyes,
their gaze
unbroken
till time
crept forward
an inch
and the crowd
of people
swallowed them
both
up…
 
     Tom Allen…12-13-2017…