Another late summer night spent walking through the city, roaming together hand-in-hand in the soft illumination of the light pollution pouring through office windows, when we came across a small fair set up in the parking lot of a shopping mall. The distinctive music echoed through the streets and immediately caught our attention. I could see him turn to me slightly, the question of whether or not I wanted to go based poised on his lips before I answered, “Let’s do it.”
We don’t hesitate a single moment before launching into the fairground to buy a handful of tickets each, running like children from ride to ride in an excitement that can only be ignited by two people newly in love on a warm summer night. It’s young love, but it’s not puppy love, and I feel the thrill of being so close to him pulse through my veins like ecstasy, my mind reeling with the high of pure bliss and stolen kisses.
Each ticket is tossed carelessly to the attendants and we make or way through each of the rides as if it were only me and him. Our voices go hoarse from laughing so much, from shouting over the wind as we whip and spin about the carnival. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, and I feel like I have never been on such a high.
This is exactly what I want, exactly where I need to be right now. Right now, this is the person who I want to, at the very least, spend the rest of the summer with, who I want to watch the green leaves turn to orange and red, and then to brown and a thick blanket of snow finally covers the earth. And maybe what we have won’t last forever, but I want to believe that it will. I want to believe that we are invincible.
And I don’t know it yet, but this whirlwind will all come to an end within a year.
And I don’t know it yet, but there will be others to love. Boyfriends to change and shape me in different ways, but none so dramatically as he did, my first love during that first summer. None so confusing and exciting and emotionally upheaving in all the right and all the wrong ways.
And I don’t know it yet, but thirty years from now, when my future daughter and I are going through the memory boxes stashed away in the attic, she’ll open the small pink box and find at the top, a single carnival ticket that I have kept all of these years.