It’s always a sight to behold: the colors, the noise, the smells. Bright, loud, and delicious. Maddie is so excited she bounces across the street. She doesn’t even mind the throngs of people jostling us to and fro or the pebbles that stubbornly get stuck in her flip-flops. We immerse ourselves in the carnie way for a few hours and many dollars. We people watch, eat cotton candy, play rigged games, and finally walk home a little less bouncy weighed down by a plethora of prizes hard-won by an empty walleted daddy.
The sounds drift across the way all evening. The cheers, the screams, the music. Until it fades in the distance.
This morning we drive by and Maddie exclaims, “It disappeared!” Her voice is filled with amazement and longing for what is lost. We can’t believe our eyes. The wide expanse of pebbles is strewn with debris and discarded mementos: a popped panda, a collection of unused tickets, a half eaten cotton candy. All the hustle and bustle is gone. Just like that. Vanished.
We stop and listen. But as hard as we try, we can’t hear the sounds, see the colors, or smell the deliciousness.
Until next year, they sit in our minds as loud, bright, yummy memories.