“Hey man, hurry up!” Yelled one of my friends.
“I’m coming!” I yelled back.
It’s been three months since my girlfriend Amber broke up with me, it was rough trying to go on with my life. I never quite understood why she wanted to end things with me. I did everything to make her happy, I cooked, rubbed her feet every day. Hell, I even took her to buy new clothes with the little money that I had.
“Come on slow poke!” shouted Zoe my little sister.
I ran out of the house and jumped into the car. “So where are we going?” I asked.
“To the carnival,” answered Zoe.
“Okay, cool,” trying to make myself sound more excited.
Amber and I use to go to the carnival every year. Going without her felt awkward and it made me regret almost going on this trip. When we finally reached the carnival, I became overwhelmed with emotions. I could still feel her presence in the air. Even though her physical appearance was nowhere to be found. I guess that was a good thing, but still that fact that I could still feel her presence was unnerving enough. I watched as Zoe and our friends all ran inside the carnival showing their tickets. And I was lagging behind, contemplating if I should go in or not. I could’ve waited in the car until they were done. But there was no telling how far that was going to be. So, I went in and hoped for the best. I showed the man in front my ticket and he stamped and let me through.
I couldn’t help but think of the memories that I had with Amber when we came here. But none of them were good, Amber hated coming to the carnival. She only went because it made me happy, well at least that’s what she said to me.
“Come, let me read your fortune,” said a lady sitting at a small round table. With a sign that said, ‘Fortune Teller.’ You would think she would come up with something more unique. Something that would draw more people to her, so she can, you know, trick them into giving her money.
“You, there, what is your name?” she asked.
I stopped to look around to see if there was anyone else. There was no one, only me and her. I walked up to her a little as she waited there patiently, giving me a sinister smile. As if she had an evil scheme ready for me. She crossed her legs as I came closer to her. Pressing her blue and white dress. Pulling out a deck of cards from her blouse and started shuffling them. I sat in the empty chair across from her.
“Sam, Sam Wilson?” I replied.
“That would be one dollar, Mr. Sam Wilson,” said the fortune-teller, as she continued to watch my every move.
I took out a dollar and laid it gently on the table. She slowly reached over the table, resting her fingernails on it and bringing it back slowly. She never removed her eyes from me, as she examined my body from head to toe. My heart picks up a little, and my brain tells me to simply walk away from the crazy lady.
“You’re not a good fortune-teller, are you?” I asked.
“Why do you say such things to me, Sam?” She asked back.
“Because if you were, you would’ve known my name,” I said to her.
She gave me a smile and continued to shuffle those stupid Tarot cards. As I watch anxiously as her smile fade her away, and eyes looking at the deck of cards. She puts them on the table and gently tapped her fingernail on the top. I wanted to ask her what she is waiting for, but she reached for the first card and laid it on the table. The first one being death.
“Does this mean I’m going to die?” I asked.
“Not physical death, more like a spiritual death. The death of a relationship, the process of letting go. Did you just mourn the loss of a relationship, Sam?” she asked
“Yeah, how did you know that?” I asked.
“Amber is her name, yes?” She asked.
“Wait, how did you know that? I never mentioned her……”
“Believe in the cards,” she said interrupting me.
“You were unhappy with her, no?” she asked.
“No! Yes, I was,” putting my head down in shame.
“No need to be a shame, Sam. We all make mistakes in our love life,” she said revealing another card.
The next one said ‘The Lovers’ I instantly knew this was a good thing, but like the death card, I had to see it another way.
“So, what does this mean? I’m going to be alone forever?” trying to make a joke.
“Non-sense, this is good. I see a very lucky girl in your future,” she marveled.
“Really who? Tell me who she is?” I begged.
“Patients now, she’ll come. But I’m not done with you yet, Sam,” she said.
“Can you at least tell me where she is?” I asked
“I sense that she’s here, in this carnival right now,” She answered.
“Do you know her name? What she looks like?” I questioned.
The fortune-teller laughed as she laid her palm on her chest trying to breathe. She went back to the cards and prepared to pull another one out. I rose up from the chair and walked away from here.
“You still have one more card, you should see what it is, yes?” she requested.
I nod my head in agreement towards her request, and she took out one last card. She drew a blank card and begun to laugh.
“What so funny, lady?” I asked
“Nothing,” she asked, still laughing.
“So, why are you laughing?” I asked again getting impatient.
“That’s just it silly boy, the card means nothing. Go now find her if you can. And tell me all about it upon your return,” she marveled again.
“What makes you think I’ll come back here?” I asked.
“You know, Sam. The one thing I noticed about you during our brief time together. You ask a lot of questions. Cute, yet clueless about so many things. Trust me when I say, guys like you, always come back to girls like me. But you’ll come to learn that soon enough. So, go ahead, find this lucky girl. I can’t wait to hear about her.” She said as she crossed her legs again and connected her fingers.
I turned away confused at what she just said, but I kept it fresh in my mind if it will help me in my quest to find her. As I was thinking about our moment together. It dawned on me that everything that lady told me was complete bullshit. So, I told myself that day that would be the last time I give a dollar to anyone who says they can read my fortune.
I started to feel depressed as I watched all the loving couples walk by me. Smiling and laughing. Their bodies touching each other as they walked the whole carnival. I was beginning to think what I had was just a taste of something I would never have again. I really wanted to go back and give that lady a piece of my mind. For filling my head with fantasy and pipe dreams of me finding my happiness, especially at a place like a stupid carnival. But I kept walking, knowing that it’s not in my character to do such a thing. To such a nice pretty girl, who was trying every way possible to make a dollar. Wish I would’ve given her more than just a dollar though.
“Hey, Bro, how are you doing so far, enjoying yourself,” said Zoe, as she walked up to me with her boyfriend. I grew a little bit of jealousy within me, knowing that my little sister found her soul mate before I did. I would have smiled at her letting her know that everything is good. But that day it wasn’t going to help this time.
“No, I’m not, it’s just not a good day Zoe. But thanks for trying to cheer me up,” I said patting her on the shoulder.
She looked at her boyfriend and laid her palm on his flat chest. “Hey, babe, can you give me some alone time with my brother?” She asked
“Yeah, no problem. Hey, Sam, if it means anything she was a bitch from the beginning,” said the boyfriend.
“Thanks,” I said back.
He walked away, and Zoe turned around, arms crossing over one another. She took a few minutes to examine me trying to figure me out. She stopped her examination and gestured her head towards an empty bench. We walked over, and both sat down.
“Okay, what’s wrong. It looks like somebody stole your old Mega-Zord when you were eight,” she said.
“That someone was you. If I remember correctly you wanted him to join your tea party,” I explained.
We both laughed for a second and Zoe hit me on the arm, basically telling me to be serious. We both calmed down and take a breather or two. I straighten my face and looked back towards her.
“I went to that fortune-teller back there. And she told me all the things I wanted to hear. Just to realize that it was all made up, to make a quick dollar out of me,” I explained.
“The one next to the trailers, she’s a looker. Maybe you should get her number and get to know her better,” said Zoe.
“Did you not hear what I just said,” I stated.
“What did she tell you?” Asked Zoe.
“She told me that the woman of my dreams is somewhere in this carnival, but I know now that was false,” I explained further.
“What if she’s right, what if the girl of your dreams is somewhere waiting for you. Just to say hello,” stated Zoe.
“But what if she’s not here,” I argued.
“You won’t know that if you stop looking like Mr. Scrooge. Now get up, fix your face, and go and try to have an enjoyable time,” Zoe demanded.
“Well when you put it like that, I’ll try,” I said.
Zoe gave me a smile and joined up with her boyfriend. I walked the opposite direction and decided to be patient like the fortune-teller told me. I walked by a group of girls laughing and jumping around. One of them wearing a blue and white shirt, with some tight blue jeans and black boots, bumped right into me.
“Hey, watch it jerk,” the girl said to me.
“I’m sorry, I should’ve been paying attention,” I said to her, even though it should’ve been her apologizing and not me.
Her friends continued to walk off and she looked me up down for a few seconds. While she was doing that, I thought I check her out myself. Her skin was clear, and her eyes were mesmerizing. She was about average height, and her nails were short and sporting a black color to match her hair. I assumed that she was one of those girls that didn’t want to be all ‘dolled’ up, so she dresses comfortably each day, hoping someone will find her attractive.
“You’re kind of cute,” she stated.
“Yeah, you’re not so bad yourself,” I trembled.
“What, you never talked to a girl before?” she joked.
“Not as one as beautiful as you,” I replied.
“Aww, that’s cute and a little cheesy,” she said.
“I’m Jennifer, What’s your name?” Jennifer asked.
“Samuel Wilson, but my friends call me Sam,” I answered.
I reached out my hand and she returns it with her own and we shook. I couldn’t help but realized that her hands were soft and smooth. And I was afraid to squeeze her hand tighter, fear that I would crush it with my strength.
“Seriously, you can’t squeeze harder than that?” She questioned.
She squeezed my hand tight enough that I felt the circulation of my blood stop. I apply the same amount of pressure to even out. As well as to ease the pain she was giving to me. For a scrawny girl, she was pretty damn strong.
“That’s more like it. My dad always taught me if I have a tighter grip than a man, he’s not worthy of my attention,” she explained.
“Wise words. What part of town are you from?” I asked.
“No part of town,” she answered.
“I’m sorry?” I asked confusingly.
“I’m new here and was looking for some new friends to hang out with. Then I saw you and thought you’ll be a good start,” she said to me.
“What about the girls that just abandon you?” I asked.
“Those are my cousin’s friends. I’m staying with her until I get on my own two feet. Anything else you would like to know, detective Wilson?” she asked.
“No, I think that covers it all,” I replied happily.
“Good, now want to show a girl an enjoyable time?” She asked
“Sure, let me start off by showing you around this marvelous carnival,” I joked.
She laughed as she grabbed my arm and walked off in the directions of the rides. The first thing we did is go on the rollercoaster. It took some convincing, but she got on and I must say she enjoyed herself. After she threw up a couple of times.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into getting on that stupid ride,” she said hitting me on the shoulder.
I laughed for a minute until she got herself back together. I looked up to see that the line was quite short for the Ferris wheel. I thought it would be a nice ride to cool her nerves and let her organs get back to their proper location.
“Hey, want to go on the Ferris wheel?” I asked.
Jennifer wipes her mouth and drinks a bottle of water and swooshes it around like mouthwash. She leaned back into the trash can, and I could hear the splash of water hitting the black bag. She took a few deep breathers and turned to see the Ferris wheel.
“I would like that right now,” she answered.
We got in line and didn’t have to wait that long for a cart to show up. A man wearing a red vest with a black dress shirt to go with it approached us and lower the safety rail. “Please keep all hands and feet…look it’s late, we’re all adults here, I’m pretty sure you know the rules by now.” We nodded and smile at his joke, and he returned one back to us. He walked away and operate the ride for us to go up.
Jennifer held on tight to arm cutting off my blood flow once again. We reached the top, where we can see the city lights across the horizon. The moon clear and white as day, sat on top of the world, gracing us with her presence. It was sure a beautiful night that day and Jennifer was just as beautiful. For a casual girl, I couldn’t help but feel some connection to her. Like I knew her from a past encounter. Or she was someone I been waiting for my whole life.
“Is it beautiful?” said Jennifer.
“What’s beautiful?” I asked in return.
“The moon,” she replied.
“Yeah, it’s as if the moon itself was a living person, looking for her love,” I stated.
“What a hopeless romantic,” she teased.
“But I like it, there are not many guys out there today that would share such things,” she stated.
“Well, I’m different from most guys,” I said.
“Glad to hear it, but I won’t lie. I’m afraid of heights and ready to get off this death trap,” she said nervously.
I laughed as she put her head closer to my chase. To think that this girl was afraid of heights, was something I would have never guessed in a million years. But she looked innocent as a child. Waiting for life to make her into another victim.
“If you close your eye and count to ten, we’ll be back on the ground,” I stated.
Jennifer gave me a smile and closed her eyes. She started counting and the Ferris wheel began to move again. I’ve been on this ride so many times, that I knew when it was going to move again. So, her counting down was perfect timing. When she finally reached ten she opens her eyes and noticed me getting out the cart. She was relieved and quickly got out of the cart and back on solid ground. She wobbled a little bit walking away from the ride, but I was there to help keep her balance.
“I didn’t know you were afraid of heights?” I questioned.
“It’s a long story,” she answered.
“Well, congratulations! You made it past your fear,” I teased.
“Very funny, when I learn about your fear, I’m going to get you back,” she said.
I felt kind of bad for letting her get on the rollercoaster with me. Getting sick and all, but the fact that she feared heights. Was not helping me at all. I wanted to impress this girl, not give her a damn heart attack. It was at that moment that I decided to take it easy for the rest of the night.
“I wish I would’ve known about your fear of heights. We could’ve just went and played some games,” I said.
Jennifer looked at me like I committed a cardinal sin or something. “I wasn’t about to have you spend anything extra in this place. I mean the tickets were high, and they want you to pay extra to win a stupid stuff animal. No thank you,” she stated.
We finally got off the Ferris wheel and walked to the middle of the carnival surrounded by all the games. “I’ll pay for one game and if I win, will you take the prize that I give you?” I asked.
Jennifer’s eyes looked up to the sky, and she laid her index finger on her chin and rolled her foot in a circle. I waited patiently for a few seconds for her answer. Hoping she would say yes, but I would be fine if she said no as well.
“One game and that’s all,” she replied.
“One game and that’s all,” I repeated.
I looked around at the booths to see what game I could possibly win with ease. I saw the one game that you must hit the platform with the huge hammer. But a scrawny guy like me couldn’t possibly hit the top of that bell, so I dismissed it. The other one was the water balloon race with the clowns. It seems like it would be an easy victory but destroying little kids to impress a girl wouldn’t help at all. So, I decided to go with the basketball challenge. All I needed to do was score three shots in a row and I get the choice of one of the big prizes.
“How about I show you my skills in basketball?” I gloated.
“Okay, let see if you got some skills,” said Jennifer.
We walked over to the man who probably wishes he was at home where it was warm and finding a new job. He looked up to see us and gave us a fake smile and stood at attention. “Welcome, do you have what it takes to win a prize for this beautiful young lady?” He asked.
“How much?” I asked back.
“One dollar my good man, and since we’re about to close. I throw in two extra balls for free,” He replied.
“Thanks, man, okay here we go.”
“Good luck, you might need it, “said Jennifer.
I looked at Jennifer in disgust for doubting my skills at this game. She had no idea that I was going to amaze her with my accuracy of shooting a ball into a net. Besides, this wasn’t my first time playing this game. I used to win prizes for Amber all the time, but at least this time it was going to be a real gift. To a real person, that I might have fallen for.
I take the first ball and aim it at the hoop. I take my time and release the ball. I watched as the ball goes in smoothly without hitting the rim. A “swish” most people will call it. I grew a smile on my face once the ball came down. I turned to see Jennifer raised her eyebrows at me as I grab the second ball. I turned my attention to the hoop and aimed once more. I released the ball and this time it hangs on the right side of the rim, looking like it was going to fall off. I grind my teeth without showing anybody, and I tighten my fist, wishing I could push the ball in somehow. But the heavens must’ve heard my thoughts because the ball fell right in. Jennifer jumps up and down smiling and clapping. I relax a little before I grabbed the next ball.
“That was a close one sir, but you got this. Just one more shot and you qualify to get one big prize from the booth,” said the game attendee.
I ignored him and grab the ball again and took aim. I felt my heart beating so fast, that I thought it was going to jump out of my chest at any moment. I released the ball and watched as it went up in the air. I watched as the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced up a few times. I landed at the edge, but history would not repeat itself. I watched in agony as the ball fell off the edge and towards the ground. My heart slowed down and my smile went away. The one chance to get Jennifer something nice was gone just like that.
“So close sir, “said the game attendee.
“It’s okay, just take the last two shots and we can go,” said Jennifer.
I wanted to just walk and say to hell with those last two. The guy was just being nice because they were closing. Even if I did make the last two shots, I would have to settle for a small prize. I really wanted her to have something big, that rate I would have left a good impression on our first meeting. But now that was out the window.
Jennifer laid her soft hand on my shoulder and I looked up to meet her beautiful smile and blissful eyes. I give her a weak smile and pick up the last of the two balls. I take my time and release the first one to watch it go in with no problem. I grabbed the second one and made a repeat of the last shot. Jennifer claps her hands in joy, as I hang my head in shame.
“Congratulation sir, you qualify for one large prize,” said the game attendee.
“Oh, cool, you still won,” gloated Jennifer.
I looked up confused by what just happen. Before I got the chance to speak one of her friends approached us and pulls her away from me.
“Be right back, Sam!” yelled Jennifer.
I turned my attention back to the guy at the booth. Wondering why he would break his own rules.
“I thought I had to shoot three in a row?” I questioned.
“Yeah but let’s face it. You’re trying to impress that girl. And This job sucks out my soul each day. So, for the sake of you getting her number, and me keeping my humanity. I broke the rules this one time. Now pick your prize, so I can close,” He explained to me.
I looked up to see all the different kind of large stuff animals hanging from the booth. I quickly spotted a large green snake hanging on the edge. It was different from the other ones. On the count that they were all white. And this one stood out, just like her. So, I thought that the green snake would suit her best. I pointed toward it and the guy takes it off and handed it to me.
“Thanks again, pal,” I said.
“No problem,” said the game attendee.
I turned to see Jennifer walking back towards me. I meet her halfway and presented her the green snake. Her eyes lit up like a flashlight when she saw it and quickly grabbed it. She puts it around her neck and started to treat it like it was jewelry.
“Tell me, how does it look?” She asked swinging from left to right.
“It looks great on you,” I laughed.
She laughed with me and we walk towards the front of the park. Another person ran to us like a bat out of hell and quickly grabbed Jennifer by the arm.
“Hey, we need to go. My mom has been calling me about curfew. She’s going to flip if I’m late,” said the girl.
“Curfew?” I questioned.
“Oh, this is my little cousin, she’s only sixteen. So, she needs to be home before curfew, or were all in trouble,” replied Jennifer.
“Exactly now let’s go, it was nice meeting you mister,” said the girl as the ran off with Jennifer.
I watched in delight as Jennifer and her cousin ran to the parking lot with the green snake hanging on. Jennifer turned around one more time to see me. I waved goodbye, and she returns one back. I sit there as I watched her get in the car they sped up behind her. Her cousin once again grabbed her and forced her into the car.
“Oh wait, her number!” I thought
I ran to the parking lot hoping I can catch them before they left. But I was too late to get to them. I watched in agony as the car leaves the parking a lot and drives down the street. I paced back and forth wondering how I can be such an idiot and not get her number. I wanted to punch a wall, anything for that matter. To release my frustration, but then I looked on the ground and noticed something shiny lying there. I bent down to pick it up and it was heart shape locket with the phrase “Follow your dreams.” Engraved on the front of it. I open it up to see another saying, “Live each day as if it’s your last.” On the left side of the heart, I see two women in a photo together with their face connecting smiling away. The girl on the left looked like Jennifer, but I wasn’t too sure who the one on the right was. Maybe her mother. But I knew it belonged to her.
I put the locket in my pocket and turned to see if I could find my sister. Instead, I find the fortune-teller putting the last of her things away. I quickly approached her, and she was startled to see me again.
“You have returned,” she said.
“How did you know that I was going to meet someone here tonight?” I asked.
She gave me a sinister smile, as she slowly approached me and put her index finger on my chest. She slowly brought it down to my stomach and lifted it from there. “I told, believe in the cards. Tell me about this girl you met tonight.”
“I was with this sweet girl and we had a nice night. She was different from the other girls I dated. I really connected with her and now she’s gone,” I explained.
“Why is she gone? And what is her name?” Questioned the fortune-teller.
“Her name was Jennifer. And she was in hurry to get her little cousin home before curfew. They left before I got a chance to get her number,” I answered.
She took a step back as if she was surprised to hear the name. She stopped a few feet away from me and closed her eyes for a minute. She reopens them and looked right at me as if I stole something from her. Or maybe wasted her time.
“Silly boy, why did you not get her number?” She asked.
“I just told you,” I answered.
“You had plenty of opportunities to get it, but instead you didn’t. You tell me you’re different. And yet I see the same guy that I see walk through this place every day. Just admit it she wasn’t the one you were looking for. Just the one you needed to see, ” explained the fortune-teller.
“What!? No! not at all, I am different from other guys. I’m—”
She raised one finger towards my lip and silence filled our conversation. She stood there for a minute looking at me, studying me like a science experiment. I wanted to continue my rant. But it would have been unwise of me to do so. I watched as her finger slid down my lip and back towards her body.
“Just do me a favor, Sam?” asked the fortune-teller.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Find her. I don’t care how long it takes. Just find her,” said the fortune-teller.
“I don’t even know where to start looking. All I have to go on is the locket that she dropped in the parking lot.” I pulled the locket out of my pocket and showed it to her. Glamour filled her eyes as she walked closer to it. I pulled it back from her and put it back in my pocket. She snapped out of it and looked directly at me.
“That’s a start, I’m pretty sure she’s going to be looking for it. Just post on the internet and I’m sure she’ll find it,” said the fortune-teller.
“Yeah, you’re right, I could do that. Thank you,” I said.
“For what?” She asked.
“For showing me what love really is,” I answered.
She slightly laughed and puts her head down, trying her best not to make noise. She looked back up with a smile on her face and hope in her eyes.
“You have a lot to learn Sam, your journey has only begun,” she stated.
I didn’t quite understand what she meant by that, but I headed to the parking lot. I saw Zoe and the rest of the group sitting on her boyfriend’s car.
“There you are, come on its late Bro,” said Zoe.
“Sorry about that, I got held up,” I explained.
“It’s cool, I’m just ready to go home. So, did you enjoy yourself tonight?” Asked Zoe.
“Yeah, I did, thanks for dragging me along,” I said jumping in the car.
Zoe smiled, feeling she accomplish her mission of making me happy. I kept thinking about Jennifer the whole ride home. She was right there and being caught up in the moment, made miss the chance of getting her number. But with the advice of the fortune-teller. I hope to find her soon.