The Carnival

The carnival was screaming with life from the sporadic lights to the thrill that echoed from the rides and down to the parlors that teemed with the excitement of winning a prize or the smell of fried foods. The night was still and cool making the carnival feel like the population of the entire world was here living life to the fullest. I noticed how the multi colored tents and rides formed small alleyways and high traffic, low traffic streets; the Ferris wheel idolized as the monument in the middle of the partying city. Kids ran yelling full of energy, adults turned to children and the families herded to the rides they could ride together. The infectious energy of the carnival energizes my mind to forget that I am here alone, the way adrenaline pumps through your veins when you feel pain.
I ride all of the rides that used to scare me as a child, back when I was afraid of something coming loose or malfunctioning, back when I was afraid of death. I eat several meals of fried foods and hyper sugared desserts within the hour thanks to the metabolism I earned from the four years of extracurricular sports back in high school. I find myself in the food court portion of the carnival where all of the tables are laid out and families and friends and couples sit around talking to one another. I sit there trying to eat my oversized portion of fry bread, hot fudge sundae and tall order of fries quietly in hope of overhearing a conversation I can relate with. I eavesdrop on a family talking about upcoming Christmas plans, another about their son’s birthday, I notice a group of friends challenging each other to ride on the scarier rides. The large tables at the carnival are meant to sit large families which is why a couple sits across from me as I occupy one alone. They feed each other fries and I can’t help staring at them, but try to look away, then find myself staring… looking away; I suddenly feel like riding the Ferris wheel.
I’m in a large green box hanging off the side of a metallic spider web of a machine that promises to spin me and everyone else that got caught in its’ glowing trap. I slipped the operator of the Ferris wheel a few dollars to let me ride it alone; paying good money for this seat in the sky I looked out the grated window at the carnival below. The shadow of my Ferris wheel car engulfs a ticket stand below as people look up to investigate the change of luminescence. The Ferris wheel moves a position and the eclipse my car makes against the moon shifts with it, this time over a parlor game where the only thing I notice is you win a fish. I rest my hands on my knees as I stand and exhale smiling, take small steps so I can shift my sight to other parts of the carnival; me now being in the center. Having explored everything I can see of the carnival I take a seat and begin to feel grateful for the empty car I reside in. As it takes its’ new position in the sky white light envelopes it completely, the glow of the moon seems to bounce off the metallic insides and defies all shadows.
I stand up again and look out the window facing toward the moon and am surprised at how much bigger it actually is, refreshing my previous perceptions of it. For that moment I have a feeling of wonder wash over me as if I had discovered the moon not only for myself, but for everyone down below as well. I track the glow of the moon in comparison to the black depth of space until I find myself looking down, reveling at the way the white light bounces off of everything. The families, the friends, the couples all enjoying the same things I have been enjoying, yet seemed to never stop smiling opposed to me. Their unity gives me the sudden craving for a fried Twinkie or a chocolate banana maybe, but I remember I didn’t bring any food with me. The feeling of hunger quickly replaces itself with the urge to ride on something quick or free falling, the urge of living through something a human body should not be exposed to, but I suddenly remember the position I am in.
My car moves one more position and rocks gently from side to side at the top of the Ferris wheel as I can hear my entire body pumping blood frivolously, pulsating against the walls of the Ferris wheel cart like a giant beating heart. I pace from one end of the small room in the sky to the other, everywhere I turn something I desire dangles in front of me. The snack foods smell wafts in through the metal grating covering the windows, excited screams on some type of metallic beast on rails rolls by. The laughter of people together, their talking and gallivanting initiates a snack bar hunger that can drown them away. The food craving again replacing itself with the urge of another near death experience to give me a fix of holding on a little longer, letting me cherish all I have. I want to drown out their smiles, their laughter, and the fact… the fact that they are all together as I sit alone in my car dangling at the top of the world with the moon as my only company.
Frustrated and stuck my mind pulsates with the aching of people’s presence and I find myself wailing on the inside of my small room in the sky. I kick and thrash until my hands bleed and my ankles feel crooked, a flailing tantrum of loneliness in the middle of the sky until clank… then a swoosh… a cool breeze blows against the back of my neck softly. I can feel a welcoming touch entrance me and I turn around to see the moon clearly in front of me, the door of my car being flung open from a hit I can’t recall. The wind blows against me again and seems to draft all of the heat of my anger that resides in the car. I also notice a silence… a silence that calms me; the people down below can no longer be heard as if the door that opened on my car was a dramatic entrance for a show, the moonlight still shining on my stage.
The smell of the food outside seems more and more physical as I get closer to the source, the draft that blows against me seems to mimic the high speed breeze that hits me on a ride. I take a step closer to the door until I can feel all of my weight on my heels, the front end of my feet floating in mid air outside the Ferris wheel. The moon seems so close now, I bet myself I could grab it, my only friend that watches over me, sends me a cool breeze and fills the air with excitement. I lean forward and reach out for my friend and smile wide as it welcomes me, the smell of the snack foods become oxygen as wind whizzes around me, the speed I travel shoots through me becoming my blood and my heart races from excitement and happiness. For a moment I stand in a point in the sky and for a moment the loneliness I’ve harbored stays static, still back in the car of the Ferris wheel. When the moment is over I can still feel the friendly glow of the moon washed over my body like a spotlight. The sounds of the people below unify into one shriek and then, my serenity becoming complete, they fall silent.





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