Carnival of Change

march_fire_poi_i_by_mrcbax-deviantart

(Credit: mrcbax on DeviantArt)

‘I just don’t think it’ll work out,’ she said, clutching her cone of cotton candy. ‘Sorry,’ she rose from the red and white striped bench.

‘Oh, I understand,’ said Tom although he did not. ‘So, err… I’ll see you around?’

‘Sure,’ she said, although her eyes and apologetic smile said ‘probably not’, and she disappeared into the crowd.

He watched the rainbow coloured horses bob up and down, while breathing in the popcorn and sugar roasted almonds. Through the music, he head a child screaming something about not wanting to go home, and he thought; ‘why not go to the fire show, now that I’m already here?’

They had roped off an area of the grass where they had put up some tall torches. On the other side of the rope were several rows of chairs. He was the first member of the audience there, so from the middle seat in the front row, he watched the performers fetch buckets of water. One performer caught his eye, as she test spun her poi. She was bald, had a snakebite piercing and a tattoo of a sun on her shoulder. She made him think that maybe it was time for a change. He had been through three relationships with a girl-next-door, maybe he was mean to be with someone more exciting than that. Maybe he was meant to be with someone wild and fiery. The thought grew on him as the seats filled up, and when the sun-tattooed woman spun her fire poi so that it looked like she had flaming butterfly wings, he was sure.

After the performance, he waited for everyone to leave the front row. Then he ducked under the rope. She turned just as he came close, and he took it as a sign, but he was not fast enough to get the first word.

‘You’re not supposed to cross the rope,’ said the woman with the sun tattoo.

‘Oh, yeah, I’m sorry, I know, but I was just thinking, maybe…’

She crossed her arms.

‘Would-you-like-to-get-coffee?’ he stumbled through the words.

She smiled. But it was not an accepting smile, and his heart sank before she began speaking.

‘I don’t think…’ she said.

‘You’re about to tell me you have a boyfriend, aren’t you?’ he said.

‘Girlfriend, actually,’ she said, ‘but thanks for the offer.’

He sighed and wondered why he had not just gone home to bed right after the show.

‘You were the one who watched us set up, right?’ she asked.

‘Yeah,’ he said. In fact, he should never even have gone to the show.

‘Come have a beer with us,’ she said.

‘What?’ He raised his head.

‘With me and the crew,’ she said, ‘you look like you need some people around you.’

As she took his arm and led him to the other performers, he thought that maybe, she really was the change he needed.

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