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Fairground Flower

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I ducked and weaved throughout the crowd of people until I reached the entrance gate. Little children squealed excitedly and parents sighed and grunted at the higher admission prices. “It was only five euro last year.” A father of two twin boys scowled as he delved inside his wallet to produce a wad of notes. I threw the admission fee in through the booth window where a young man was sitting. The booth, like the rest of the fairground, was old and rusted. So old that my grandmother would have seen the same stripes and zigzag designs painted on the wooden booth, just in a brighter, newer shade of red and yellow.

I trudged into the fairground and the mud squelched under my trainers. I followed a group of girls down to the Ferris wheel which was decorated in hundreds of cheap light bulbs. Squeals of delight came from where the bumper cars were as children laughed and squealed as they rammed their cars into other people’s cars. Screams of terror came from the twisting rollercoaster and the queue of people thinned out as some cowered away from the terrifying ride.





The mouth watering smell of buttery popcorn wafted around the fairground. Sweet sugary pink candy-floss stuck to children’s hands which were bobbing in and out of the crowd of people like clouds in the sky. Giant lollypops and tubes of candy were in every child’s hands just like the candy-floss. Groups of boys spied on girls who were with their friends. I walked past tents and rides until I reached a small trailer covered in posters of a woman with a crystal ball. A price was stuck on a wooden board and the fortune teller’s name was in a curled lilac print. The fortune teller was called Madame Rubella.

I continued to walk around the fair until I saw the place I visited every year. This area of the fairground was the quietest and the tent I was looking for was under a tall old oak tree. The same place they put it each year they visited this town. A few people walked the opposite direction but I continued towards the old tent.

The tent used to bright red but now it was a faded shade of red with the most part of it charred to black plastic. It used to be a tent with arcade games inside it but after the accident it was just an empty tent they put up in memory of the boy who died in it. The young boy who happened to be my brother. It was an accident of course and I have never blamed the people who ran the fairground as they wouldn’t have known their pinball machine would overheat and set the tent on fire. No-body would have known.

It had been five years since the accident and as I entered the tent a single flower was in the bushy green grass. The flower grew in that spot anytime the fairground came into town. I lay down on the grass beside the unusual flower and stared up at the ceiling of the tent. The poles that held up the tent were visible through the thin fabric at the top. I lay there for hours and hummed my brother’s favorite song.


After a while I emerged from the tent, clutching the flower. The sun’s rays blinded me and the faint squeals and laughter returned. When I am in the tent, all the fairground’s smells and sounds become distant. The pink clouds danced in and out through the people again and the buttery smell of popcorn that filled my lungs returned. I slowly walked past the tents and fairground rides until I reached the exit gate.

I waited by the bus stop, slowly stroking the flower. When I entered the kitchen the smell of roast chicken and potatoes filled my lungs. My mother was humming the same tune I did when I was in the tent. A golden framed picture of my brother was placed on the kitchen table and a crystal vase was beside it. “Have you got the fairground flower?” my mother said softly.

My father sat at the table, staring at the picture of his son. I placed the flower into the vase and took a seat. Every year my mother, father and I shared a meal in memory of their son and my brother. The fairground flower felt like my brother was telling us he was okay, wherever he was.

THE END



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