Okay, so this is really random. Like really, really random. I wrote it in about twenty minutes at midnight, after finishing a paper. I don't even know. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't. Hopefully you'll tell me! It's just me trying something new, as I am wont to do sometimes.
As usual, I own nothing.
It happened on one of those zip-a-dee-doo-dah days…
Well, not exactly. I mean, it isn't as if people suddenly burst into song in real life. But you couldn't have asked for a lovelier day. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the bees were buzzing… really, the whole shebang.
I couldn't have been more than ten years old. By now all of those memories have started to run together and fade, seamlessly working themselves into one fluid reminiscence with no clear demarcation of time. A blessing and curse of aging.
My mother had taken me to the fair, probably to shut me up about cotton candy. I had never had it in my life but we had read a book in school and the protagonist was an enthusiast of the sugary fluff. I became obsessed. Cotton candy colored my dreams, both day and night. At sunset, if you looked up at the right time, the clouds were giant puffs of pinky and my only wish was to get my hands on one. So when I heard the fair was in town, I knew we had to go. I had to have cotton candy and I was going to have it, come hell or high water. I begged, pleaded, and probably pitched a fit or two. My mother wasn't up to the challenge and so off to the fair we went.
Soon after our arrival, I had a paper stick surrounded by cotton candy. A quick sample determined that I had missed out on a sticky joy and for that I could never forgive my mother. However, my love could be easily purchased for a handful of the rides that had sprung up on the fairground like flowers after the last snow.
Now I was not an adventurous child. In fact, I was downright timid. Many of the rides frightened me, mainly the ones that my mother designated as "Big Kid Rides." (I would not become a designated Big Kid for at least another two years.) But there was one ride that caught my attention, a beautiful old carousel—the one pride of our fairground. It was there all year round, but it had been cleaned and beautified in honor of the fair.
The carousel was always my favorite part of any amusement park. It reminded me of my favorite movie and my favorite scene—I always imagined that I was Mary Poppins winning the horse race. I had never emulated anyone so much as Mary Poppins. My grandmother had always played the movie when I was at her house for whatever reason. She loved it and because of that, I learned to love it. I loved the chalk drawing and the Banks family and Cherry Tree Lane. I loved it all. And I remember, even as a small child, knowing that Bert and Mary Poppins had something special, something that couldn't be recreated by just anyone.
It wasn't hard to convince my mother that I needed to ride the carousel. Carefully selecting a bright pink horse, I called to mind the familiar racetrack and the sounds of the crowds cheering as I politely tapped the frontrunners on the shoulders, winning in a spectacular upset. Opening my eyes, I studied the crowd around the carousel and nearly jumped off my horse.
Leaning casually against the fencing around the attraction was a very handsome man in a striped button-down shirt and tan casual slacks. That sight wasn't what startled me. The surprising thing was his companion. She gave him a look as he offered her some of my new favorite treat, cotton candy. Her face very clearly said she was far too respectable for such a sticky, sugary thing. Her chestnut hair was pulled off her neck in a simple bun at the nape of her neck and she wore a flowy short-sleeved white dress, belted by a thick red ribbon around her waist.
The ride came to a stop and I bolted as fast as I could towards this mysterious couple.
My mother yelled my name, calling for me to come back, but I couldn't care less.
"Mary Poppins! Mary Poppins!" I yelled louder than my mother as I ran towards them. "Bert!"
My mother was hot on my heels. "You have to excuse my daughter," she said to the couple before they could respond to my cries. The man seemed a bit shocked but the woman had a look of amusement on her face. "She has an overactive imagination."
"Oh, I shouldn't worry about it," the woman said. Maybe I imagined it, but I will go to my grave swearing that she had an English accent. "It's no trouble at all."
"An imagination is a terrible thing to waste," the man advised. "You keep it up, miss."
"We really should be going," the woman said to her companion. "You know how Michael gets when he has to wait."
"Pleasure to meet you," the man said to me and my mother. He tipped an imaginary cap and turned to me. "You keep that imagination of yours, you hear me?"
"Yes, sir," I mumbled.
"It was a joy to make your acquaintance," the woman said, smiling as she said my name. "I trust we will see each other again."
And then they walked off, hand in hand.
My mother began berating me for putting her in such an awkward position, for talking to strangers, and for running away.
She was so busy yelling that she didn't see the woman in the white dress turn around, catch my eye, smile and wink.