Funfairs have this distinct feeling – odd, yet comforting. When you’re a child, you can’t wait to be old enough to ride the bumper cars, get as much cotton candy as you want and stay up all night to go on every single ride. Looking at this desire as an adult, I must say, nothing much has changed.
As I watch the families stroll across the lawn, the ferris wheel glowing in the background, the smell of candy apples and cotton candy plays with my senses, I stop at the bumper cars. In the town where I grew up, this was where the big kids met to secretly smoke. I wasn’t one of them, and I was even afraid of them. Looking at them now, they don’t seem scary at all – a couple of French Fries short of a happy meal and not knowing any better, but definitely not scary.
It’s getting cooler and I put on my leather jacket. The carrousel (took me three tries to get this one right) next to me is one of the faster ones. It stands right in the open in the middle of the fair and has its arms extended as it goes up and down, round and round. It resembles the Dumbo ride at Disneyland, only faster, and no dumbo – you get the idea. This was the ride of true love when I was a teenager. Whenever you had a crush and he asked you to go on that carrousel, you knew it was love. And if he paid for you and a friend asked you if you wanted to go with him, well… you were practically married. My heart was racing as I sat next to my crush. We must’ve been 10 or 11, and I remember the looks of people- the looks I would usually give those who earned a ride with their crush. It was nice to be one of them now.
I find myself in the hall of mirrors. I never figured those things out. They usually expand over two stories (sometimes only one), and the goal is to get out without bumping into any mirrors… or getting out, period. As you pass one mirror after another, you see an image of yourself, knowing this is the wrong way. Then you expect to see yourself, but find yourself standing face to face with someone else – the illusion of the mirror was just that. After you panic because you lost your group, you finally find your way out. You wonder how people could’ve left so many hand prints and even make-up smudges on those mirrors. There’s probably not a soul left on that fairground with their make-up on.
Circus and fair music fills the air with its distinctive dinc-dinc-dingleingleing-dinc-dinc and a voice encouraging the fair-goers to “come on in, next ride in two minutes”. The screams of visitors fade in and out as they enjoy the roller coaster in the dark. Popcorn kernels make a popping sound next to me and the smell of caramel is irresistible.
As I turn away and walk through the wet grass into the night, the caroussel dinc-dinc-dinc fades away. The sweet smell of candy lingers over the fairground, forming a cloud of happiness. I turn around one last time before disappearing into the darkness.