I breathe in the scent of fried food, sugar, and popcorn.
Today, for just a moment, everything is perfect.
Evangeline is here standing with me, I have her attention, and can I say that I look simply dashing?
With a little breath of courage, I puff out my chest slightly, today is a day for bravery.
Evie doesn't look so bad herself.
Oh who am I kidding, she looks gorgeous with her sleek blonde hair pulled back in an ebony band that matches her red and black plaid skirt. Her scarlet blouse fits into her skirt making her waist tiny and also making me wonder if my hand could fit around it.
It's too bad we didn't coordinate like Donald and Sharon, their colors of lime green and yellow work perfectly together, whereas I chose to wear my navy slacks and light blue polo.
Don't get me wrong, I still look splendid, but just not as splendid as I could be with Evie.
I offer my arm to Evie and she takes it. "Shall we go, fair lady?"
She looks down and giggles. "We shall."
"What should we do first?" Sharon asks, clapping her hands together while bouncing in anticipation, which makes her lemon dress flounce up and down in beat with her dark curls.
Donald immediately answers her by rubbing his nose with hers. "Whatever you would like to do darling."
They are both smiling, teeth and all.
If someone ever asked me what love was, I would refer them to the happy couple.
David told me he had plans to propose and hopefully marry before he went off to war, I wouldn't be surprised if today was the day he did just that.
The smell here has changed. I shouldn't be surprised, it's been about 58 years since I've been to a carnival.
It was Evangeline's idea. She had said there was one coming to town and suggested we go. I had been hesitant of the idea at first but relented when I saw the longing in her eyes.
I would still give into her sparkling blue irises every time she looked at me a certain way.
She took my hand and led me through the crowd of youngsters. I had been called old, but put next to all of these children I felt especially ancient.
And oh my— how the fashions have seemed to change.
Well, not really. It seems the 80s are in style again. The ugly ripped jeans and cropped shirts.
In my opinion, if you are going to were jeans you should wear them for practicality, not to have half of your skin showing. It's repulsive.
Every time I tell this to Evangeline she just rolls her eyes at me and laughs, but it is true.
Another thing is the shorts. They are so tiny, you might as well run around in your undergarments.
Again I can see Evangeline rolling her eyes at that.
"Well dear," I say, smiling down on her. "This is your trip, what would you like to do first?"
"Let's go on the Ferris wheel!" Sharon suggests. Evie looks shy but nods her head as well.
I decide to be brave and I wrap my hand around her waist.
Good heavens, I can fit my hand around the tiny thing!
She smiles a bit as we walk over to the tall tower holding up a large wheel made of steel, each rim connected to a small seat.
We get into line, and we are a few people away from the front.
The smell of fried food overwhelmed me, and all I wanted was one of those corn dogs with mustard that everyone had been talking about.
But no, I was going to ride the Ferris wheel with Evie. It would be fun.
Even though I couldn't understand why people liked to go on them. They went so high and you were only strapped into a seat, your legs free to dangle as you watched the world below.
Maybe the appeal was the romantic side of them. Girls liked to be romanticized, right?
If that was the case I would woo Evie all day long.
"Why don't we go on the Ferris Wheel dear, it will be fun," Evangeline suggested.
Of course, she would want to do that.
"That sounds like a wonderful idea dearest."
She smiled demurely while raising an eyebrow. "Dearest?"
I smile back as I reply, "Am I not allowed to use pet names now?"
"Oh no, that's perfectly fine, I just haven't heard you call me that since..." She trails off and the sparkle in her eyes turns misty as the corner of her lips turns down. "Well, for a long time."
"Well dearest," I say as the little seat goes up and Sharon and Donald get on their own bench. "Do you like rides at these types of things?"
She shot me a sly grin. "Before calling someone dearest, shouldn't you ought to know what they like and do not like?"
She had done it. She had rendered me speechless. How could she be so pretty and witty?
She had a smart but gentle mouth and I liked that.
"Fair point. I was just trying to—" But she stopped me mid-sentence.
"Feel free to call me dearest anytime," Evie told me just as we started moving upwards again for the next person to get on.
I grinned to myself.
"What is so amusing?" She looked at me and spoke with an accusing tone.
"Nothing at all... dearest. I'm just surprised you would give me your permission like that."
"Oh, you think because I act shy that I can't be the slightest bit daring when it comes to my love life?" She says, her tone rising a little.
"Absolutely not. It caught me off guard but I like it that you're—"
She interrupted again. "See? There you go assuming I'm quiet and petite! It's because I act like Ms. Perfect you don't think I'm willing to handle kissing someone on the Ferris Wheel, or letting someone call me Dearest."
Is that hint? I want it to be a hint badly, but if I kiss her, and I was wrong I fear things would go badly. Do I try?
So I decided to ask. "Evie, do you want me to kiss you?"
She pauses for a moment. "And if I did?"
"Then I would kiss you, whatever the lady wants, right?" I joke. Or try to at least.
"I don't want to be kissed out of pity, if you're going to kiss me, you must kiss me out of love. Then I will permit you." She folds her arms and looks out to the side of the wheel, over the whole fair. However, despite her teasing, lecturing act, I can see the outline of her check tugging up into a smile, and so I go for it.
"Evie?" I ask, barely registering that the wheel is turning around and around.
She turns a bit too quickly. "Yes?"
"I will kiss you out of love," I state.
"You will?" I can practically see her cursing herself in her mind for sounding so hopeful.
I don't respond with words, rather the sweet touch of two soft lips molding into the niches of another.
We get into the Ferris Wheel silently, I know why she is suddenly sad, all these memories of being back here— even if it isn't all the same as we used to know. I think it was particularly the parts where I called her dearest. I continued calling her that for years into our marriage, but I stopped. I don't know why, but that tradition just... faded.
The wheel turns up and up and up to the top, then down and down and down. It repeats for two more cycles, both times neither speaks to the other.
I don't know what to say to her, I just know that calling her pet names won’t work. After all, I am supposed to know her if I use them, and something tells me (Maybe years of being wed,) that she wouldn't appreciate that now.
But then I remember something that speaks louder than words.
Or that's what people say now.
So I take her hand. "Evangeline?" I say. "Evie?"
That gets her to look at me, and that's when I make my move.
I lean in and kiss her.
It's just a little bit, but we haven't kissed in a long time. I've missed it.
Again, that tradition faded with the terms of endearment. Everything has faded to black and white. But this is the modern age, we can see in color.