Going to the fair was less about going to the fair and more about reliving past times we wanted to hold onto. I’d never noticed it before, but all the rides were basically the same. In the same positions even. I stood waiting while Charlotte and her friend rode the ride and I looked to the sky: the sounds of the screams and the murmur were the same, but the clouds were different. I felt my sentiment wear through to indifference. I was no longer on the rides with Charlotte, I was just there as a ride for them and to pay for things. Following them through crowds, making sure we didn’t get separated. I didn’t mind, it was just different; a lot changes in a year. It’s not normal for kids to want to be with their parents and I felt the same about them sometimes, too.
There was a guy with no legs walking with prosthetics that were no more than rods with platforms on the bottom. People of all shapes and sizes, the odd attraction of the fair. Roasted corn, fried butter, kids eating whole legs of chicken. Charlotte and her friend napping in the back of the car driving home, watching them slumped in the rear view mirror. Youth. The look of the leaves falling on the road, changing in the trees. You could mix green and yellow to make it look the same on canvas, that muted brown.
Now is the hour of the bats, when twilight is set and they are out flapping and feeding. Tree frogs squeaking and the smell of wet cedar, fire smoke.
I lit the first fire of autumn though it wasn’t cool enough to warrant it so we opened all the windows to invite the chill in and the need for warmth. The dog sighed into my hand, the same sound as air letting out of a tire, the season exhausting itself through a long, outward gasp…sure to be followed by a long, deep sleep.