She doesn’t know if she should leave him. He has become too distant. Martin never looks at her when she tries to talk with him. He always has somewhere else he’d rather be. And now she has lost him at The Fair. Anne edges through the crowd past the food stands. The smell of fried onions and candyfloss make her stomach turn. She hates crowds. She can’t stand still and think. Everything is too bright. The lights on the rides, the noises, the screams and the laughter. She has to find him. Anne pushes through near the waltzers as they speed round and round.
Where could he be? She feels nauseous as she searches by the rollercoaster. It rattles up the track as it nears the summit before the winding drop. He isn’t near the Ghost Train either with the gaudy paintings of werewolves and serial killers and the animatronic skeleton climbing up a rope with its red flashing eyes. The tall rides that loop the loop or spin upside down are always too much. Anne finds a space and throws up.
Martin was the perfect lover. He used to give her compliments and flowers. He used to listen and give her his full attention. Even her Mother liked him. But then work took over and he became more distant and aloof. He isn’t as funny as he used to be. She rarely smiles now. He’s changed. That much is true. And Anne feels quite alone, even now, through the crowds.
She looks again past the food stands. Anne’s breathing is shallow. She is growing impatient. The candyfloss and fried onions mingle like something sour and sweet. The lights affect her ability to see in the dark as she listens to the banter and notices a Fortune Teller. The Romany lady in black beckons at the door of her caravan. Anne does not make eye contact. She doesn’t want a contract or an obligation because she finds it hard to say no. The clacking of rides, screams, and laughter feel like an onslaught on her senses. She wants to go home. She wants Martin to stand still and acknowledge her. She needs to find him. Would she leave him?
The rollercoaster is climbing again. It must have done a lap or two. It went on and rattled without her being there to observe it. All this would be gone soon. The rides would move on somewhere else and the rubbish would be swept away. It would just be a car park again by the end of the week. She acknowledges the feeling of loss. She needs to focus. He isn’t near the Ghost Train with the serial killers in masks or the skeleton with red eyes that flash. It’s the same as before. Her repeated search is becoming as fruitless as the first. But she can’t stop. Not now. Even though she wants to stand still and think. Her mind is spinning.
She jumps as someone taps her shoulder. She spins off kilter. There is the familiar face who looks as perturbed as ever. He says, ‘We really can’t go on like this.’ And for a moment, Anne stands still.
Mark Anthony Smith was born in Hull. His writings have appeared in Musicians for Homeless and Be their voice, Spelk and Truly U. Hearts of the matter is available on Amazon. Facebook: Mark Anthony Smith – Author // Twitter: MarkAnthonySm16