Night of the Fair

The fair comes back every year, or so they say. There's an urban legend that one year it didn't come back, but that would be getting off topic. See, every year for a decade, with this year being the eleventh, I have come to the fair on the night of it's final day. I did this to meet up with a friend, a close friend. It's not as if this was the only time I could see her, as we used to live in the same town, but it was a special meeting place for us. It all began on the last night of the fair, eleven years ago.

As usual, the fair was lit up not by normal lighting, but by the barrage of fireworks in the night sky. That night, I had been forced to go to the fair by my mother, who claimed it 'good for me', considering my rather antisocial tendencies. Of course, once there, I managed to escape her leash and disappeared into the crowd, hoping to find some solace in the social gathering. Surely enough, I found it on the roof of the fair's enormous mascot overlooking the grounds.

With only the rhythmic barrage of fireworks and the near inaudible murmurs of the crowds below, I was able to stare across the bay before me. The fairgrounds were positioned at the edge of a bay, and the scent of the sea was prevalent at my location. Truth is, I never liked the sea, and so even though I had found solitude amidst the chaos of the fair, it was still tainted. It was at that moment that I first met Sarah.

"Why are you up here all alone?" I looked at her after the initial shock had died down. She was no older than me at the time, exactly my age, I would later find out. Her complexions were fine, her hair a deep crimson.

"I want to." I replied.

"Why?"

"I don't like people." Such a dark response coming from a child of eight years. Yet this response did little to discourage the girl from talking.

"Oh. Do you want me to go away then?" It was a full minute before I answered this. Quite possibly the longest minute of my life. I debated with myself, whether or not to dismiss her.

"No." My answer was loud as a whisper.

"Can I sit next to you then?"

"Why?" The same childish response, only on the opposite side of the table.

"Cause I don't like people either."

And that was how I met Sarah. As it turned out, she'd been visiting the same location for the last few nights. We shared almost every thinkable interest, dislike and even dreams. Thinking about it with an adult mindset, this could be seen as creepy, but for a pair of lost children, it was as a blessing. For the first time in our lives, we both had found someone to share in life's highs and lows.

For eight years to follow we were best of friends, and eventually it evolved into a romance straight out of a fairy tale. Naturally, we had fantasized about marriage, and eternal love between us, but our first true test came when Sarah was forced to move away from the town by the bay. It was hard, but we decided to keep in touch, and stick to the tradition: we would meet again on the final night of the fair.

The ninth year came, and we stayed true to our promise. And so too did the tenth, and once again we were reunited. This year would be the eleventh, and the defining moment. We were now legal adults, and our fairy tale happiness awaited us.

It was the last night of the fair; the grounds were lit by the barrage of fireworks in the sky. I made my way through the crowd, up the staircase and to the usual spot. The rhythmic barrage and the low murmurs were a sound experience I had sorely missed over the previous year. Even the scent of the sea was no longer a nuisance to me. My pocket was heavy, a gift eager to exchange hands. Closing my eyes, I let myself drift away in the atmosphere. I was finally brought back into reality by someone approaching my location.

"It's been too long. I missed you."

"I'm sorry." Something was wrong. It wasn't Sarah.

"She wouldn't have sent you here unless she couldn't come herself."

"She asked me to give you this." I reached out and grabbed what the woman handed to me, which turned out to be a letter. Once I was alone again, I opened my eyes and read the letter.

'My dearest,' it read, 'I was hoping to spend the rest of my life by your side. I'm sorry that death will stand in the way of our unity, but don't worry. In time, we shall be together again. I'll wait for you, every year, on the last night of the fair.' The words became increasingly harder to read, as if it became harder for her to write. The last thing on the paper was her name, followed by several drops of blood.

That night, the barrage of fireworks sounded like gunshots, the murmurs of the crowd sounded like a mocking laugh, and the scent of the sea became as rancid as death. Sarah had been killed on her way to the fair. A starving man, hoping to steal a small fortune, asked her for her possessions. She refused, and it was the last thing she ever did. Any man would exact revenge, but I wouldn't. Sarah had used her dying breath to write that letter, and I would honor it.

And so came the twelfth year, and the last day of the fair. The barrage was same, the murmurs too, and the scent of the sea was still prevalent atop the mascot. And so too was it for the thirteenth year, and the fourteenth, and the fortieth. Every year I got older, every year I got closer to reuniting with Sarah, while she remained the same beside me. Death may have stopped our earthbound legacy, but it helped our bond of love last an eternity.