The evening was about as perfect as you could hope for, even for a mid September night. It was still reasonably mild, though now that the sun had set, hints of a cooler breeze could be felt, stirring the many pennants and flags decorating the grounds. The air was rich with the aromas of festival delights; caramel corn, french fries, candy apples, and of course cotton candy. The fall fair was in full swing. Well, as full swing as it got in these smaller towns anyway.
I had only arrived here a couple of hours earlier, after a drive long enough to listen to my favorite playlist several times over, and stop for gas twice. It seemed to be nice town, filled with the usual shops you'd expect to find in a place this size. After grabbing a meal at a local restaurant, which seemed to specialize in all things deep fried, I made my way to the fairgrounds to start the excruciating wait for you to arrive. I wandered through the various attractions and exhibits, trying to keep my mind occupied. After sampling some heavenly home baked delights, I found a good vantage point, and waited. I knew you would come. It was more than a feeling. I knew.
I have to admit, I was quite surprised when I had received the text from your friend, Ashley, the week earlier. How she got my number I'll never know, but if she was telling the truth about bringing you to the fair tonight, I will be forever in her debt. You had obviously told her about our last rendezvous. She said she couldn't pass up the opportunity to help us get together again. A wave of exhilaration had run down my spine when she told me her plan. The week had taken forever to pass, but now, finally, the day had arrived and I was here. It was all I could do to focus on the drive here and I several times I caught myself driving double the speed limit.
I passed some more time playing some of the games of 'skill', watching the crowd slowly thicken around me as the evening wore on. I kept my eye on the ticket booth where our pre-arranged meeting would take place. It was almost time now and I could feel the butterflies flitting about in my stomach. It had been far too long since I had seen you last, not since that night on the beach. It seemed a lifetime ago, even though every moment of that night was still engraved into my memory like etched glass. I had relived that evening in my mind nightly ever since. What if your feelings for me had changed since then? What is you had met someone else, someone who could be with you far more often than I? I tried not to think about it. A group of annoyingly teens passed, blocking my view for a moment, and then, like the sun cresting the horizon, there you were.
I had forgotten just how beautiful you are. Not forgotten exactly. It was almost like my brain only had so much memory for beauty, and you exceeded the limit…by a large margin. I didn't think it was possible, but you looked even lovelier now than the last time I had seen you. Your hair was longer, cascading down your shoulders like waterfalls of the deepest brown. The rich tones of chocolate and of coffee, of comfort that you just wanted to wrap yourself up in and shut the world away. Even from a distance I could see the brownish green of your eyes, sparkling amidst the lights of the midway behind you. The sights and sounds of the bustling fairground seemed to shimmer and fade away, blurring into the background as I gazed, leaving only you in my field of vision. No. Wait. Not only you. Someone was with you, another girl. I forced my attention from you for a moment and considered your companion. She was a little shorter than you, with similar dark brown hair. She was cute. In fact, in another setting I would have said stunning. Next to you however, no one else mattered. That must be Ashley, I thought. My eyes, ever rebellious, refused to leave you for long and had already returned to your radiant visage. My heart was already pounding in my chest as I realized that maybe, just maybe, the stars were aligning for us to have another night together.
All eyes turned to follow as the two of you made your way gracefully through the crowd to the ticket booth. After purchasing a long string of tickets, I could see Ashley gesturing towards the larger rides at the far end of the grounds. She did it so naturally, so innocently. I admired how well she was doing her part to lead you towards our next moment. She's good, I thought, a smile playing across my lips. I noticed she was discreetly searching the crowd around her, and at that moment, our eyes met. I must have been fairly obvious, no doubt staring like a farm boy in the city for the first time. Her eyebrows arched questioningly, and I nodded slightly, trying to maintain the smile on my face. She winked conspiratorially and continued to look around, betraying no sign of having seen me. Soon however, she took you by one arm, and started leisurely strolling in the direction of the midway. It was time to enact my part of the plan.
I kept pace with you as you walked towards the larger rides, easing my way through the crowd. I would have to time this perfectly. The two of you came to a halt in front of the tallest ride in the fairgrounds, the Ferris wheel. It was the scene for hopefully, our next meeting. The wheel was almost full. There were only a couple of cars left to board and I could see the operator, a greasy looking man with dirty jeans and a ragged bandana on his head, seating two people in a car and locking the safety bar down. There were only two cars left, and I could see Ashley say something to you, pointing to the last car. My time had come. It was now or never. Gauging the distance, I set off across the open ground at just the right pace. The operator had just finished loading another car and turned towards you and gestured to the lone remaining one. Taking your seat, you turned to look for Ashley, but she held back. I could see her shaking her head, pointing to her stomach. The operator turned and looked over the lineup of those who were still waiting to be seated, searching for another single rider. I caught his eye with a quick wave. A gap tooth grin split his craggy features as he beckoned me up. The floor rocked slightly as I stepped aboard and you looked up, curious to see who your fellow passenger would be. The look of total surprise on your face was priceless. It was a look that I will never forget. Your eyes opened wide, glittering, and your jaw dropped as your hand came up to your mouth with a gasp. "Oh my God!!" you shouted, as I slid into the seat beside you. I was grinning from ear to ear. To cause such delight on a woman's face should be every man's life long goal. "Is this seat taken?" I asked, as nonchalantly as I could, as you threw your arms around me, hugging me tightly, as if afraid to let me go. I held on to you even tighter, since I felt exactly the same way. The operator finished securing the door, but forgot to lock the safety bar in place. You never noticed as several questions in quick succession burst from your ruby red lips.
"What are you doing here?"
"How did you know I'd be here??"
"Did someone tell you that I would…no...wait" You trailed off as the pieces clicked into place in your head. You twisted around and pointed down at Ashley, who was just standing there, grinning. "You set this up didn't you?" you accusingly shout, laughing. She only smiles with a shrug. The look on her face tells you all you need to know. Silently you mouth the words "Thank you"
The ride stutters into motion as the wheel started to ponderously spin, moving us forward and up with increasing speed. We might as well have been on a subway for all that we were aware of the world around us. The pounding music from the midway faded and I felt like I was floating, hypnotized once again by the dark pools of your eyes. I was completely entranced. This was what total contentment felt like. I was almost giddy with the wonder of it all. We talked and laughed and updated each other on the happenings of the past months as the ride continued, taking us up and around, again and again. I so wanted to kiss you, but I knew that you might not be comfortable with that in such a public setting so I waited. As we reached the very top of the circuit, there was a brief moment when we were out of sight from everyone below, only watched by the stars above. I leaned in and gently our lips met, ever so lightly, but with all of our hearts behind it. We continued to gaze into each other's eyes, as the after effects of the kiss flickered through us like we had just touched a live wire. I have no idea how long the ride was, but it seemed only a few breaths before the wheel brought us back past the operator for the last time. I heard him holler "Last lap!"
I didn't want it to end. This was too perfect. Could we ever repeat this? Possibly, but for sure the purity of the moment would be lost. I took your hand as our car was lifted up one last time. Then, something happened, something magical. The car lurched a bit as I heard the grinding of gears from below. Peering over the side of the car I could see a few wisps of smoke drifting up from the motor that powered the ride. The loud cursing of the grimy operator confirmed that something was amiss. The huge wheel began to slow like someone had just kicked out the plug. We coasted up a few more feet, only to come to rest just as our car reached the very pinnacle of the wheel's arc. We were out of sight of the entire world. Apparently the universe had heard my plea.
After a brief inspection, the operator shouted up to the passengers of the Ferris wheel. "Sorry folks. Looks like we've some repairs to make, but don't worry, we'll have you down in a jiffy!" Take you're time, I thought. We are in no rush! This couldn't have worked out better. We were alone. We were in the middle of the crowded fairgrounds, surrounded by people, and yet, we were completely alone. Looking out I could see most of the town from here. The flashing light atop the town's water tower was visible, and I could just make out a large letter "V" painted on its side, the first letter of the town's name. A sliver of a moon was just rising above the horizon through the crystal clear air. The stars shone with an intensity that seemed meant only for us. I turned back to you and found you staring at me, a grin on your face and a mischievous gleam in your eye. "Well." I said. "This couldn't have worked ou…" My words were cut off, forgotten as you grabbed my head with both hands, and leaned hard into me, pressing your lips against mine. All other thoughts left me at that moment except one. I clung to it like a drowning man clings to a bit of wreckage. This is it, I thought, the perfect moment. Don't let it pass you by. Savor it. Revel in it. Bask in it. Memorize every minute detail of it: The faint floral scent of your hair, the enticing weight of your body as you pressed my shoulders down to the seat, the warmth of your lips. I could feel the light caresses of your tongue on mine as you kissed me like I had never been kissed before. Even with my eyes closed I could see fireworks. Whether it was the flashing and flickering reflections of the midway, or the results of my pounding heart, I didn't care. Recovering a little from the suddenness of it, I reached my arms around you and pulled you even tighter to me. The kiss continued until it was the only thing of any worth left on the face of the earth. I never wanted it to end. My hands found their way under the back of your shirt and I could feel you gasp slightly at their coolness. I slid them up the smooth skin of the small of your back, working my fingers up your spine, and soaking up the heat that was radiating off you. Your hands were cupping my face gently but now you slid them deeper, around the back of my head. Clenching two handfuls of hair firmly, your kiss now took on a new intensity. A hunger had awoken within you that, for a moment, caught me off guard, threatening to overwhelm me. Soon though, I could feel the desire flare up within me to match yours. My hands now became bolder, and they began to caress and explore the exquisite curves and contours of everything within their reach. Whenever they chanced upon a sensitive spot, I could feel your quick intake of breath, the slight arching of your back, yet the kiss did not end. Your soft hair had fallen around my face, tickling my cheeks with gossamer fingers.
At long last, but not nearly long enough, the kiss finally ended. You lifted your head a few inches, your long hair still spilling down past my face, creating a private sanctuary for just the two of us. My eyes opened and in the dimness I could see your eyes, glistening with emotion. "Don't stop" I whispered, not really knowing how to put into words what I was feeling. "I…I don't want to leave you again." You looked deep into me then. It felt like you saw clear to the core of my being. "Then don't." you answered, and in a low voice barely audible you added. "At least, not tonight." Then your lips were on mine again and I lost all track of time, submerging myself into your warm and alluring embrace.
Some time later, exactly how long I cannot say, I became dimly aware of a low rumble as the motor of the Ferris wheel chugged to life once more. A mock cheer went up from the stranded passengers below us as the wheel jerked into motion once more. We sat up, blinking at the sudden return to reality, and hastily began rearranging and readjusting our now disheveled appearance. I tried to wipe the lipstick from my face, and ran my fingers through my hair, but I had no idea if it helped or just made it all worse. I reached over and pushed back a lock of your hair that had fallen over your eye and reassured you that you still looked amazing. It was obvious though to anyone that really looked, that our appearance was not nearly as neat and tidy as it had been when we first boarded the ride, but we didn't care. We looked at each other's face, and just started laughing. It was a laugh that could only be shared between two people who had nothing to hide from each other, and it felt so good. The wheel was stopping and starting every few moments as the riders were let off, one car at a time, and it wasn't long before our turn arrived. As we stepped off I could see Ashley standing in front of the bustling crowd, waiting for us. There was no mistaking the knowing smirk on her face and I blushed despite my best efforts not to. As we walked past the Ferris wheel operator, he caught my eye with a grin and gave me a sly wink, no doubt in part because of the crisp new one hundred dollar bill in his pocket that I had given him a few hours earlier. To my chagrin, I blushed again.
As I we walked down to meet your friend, I couldn't help but smile again from the pure exhilaration of it all. It was a beautiful evening, the stars were shining, and I had my arm around the girl of my dreams. The night was young, and I couldn't wait to find out what the rest of it would bring.