Faith recovered her sweaters from storage. The weather turned cool and warranted an extra layer of attire. Autumn arrived with its gentle breezes, stormy days and earthy smells. When that time of year came around, people appeared to become more alive and delighted in the inconspicuous changes to the scenery. Faith hauled out her boots as well and set them up underneath her sweaters in her closet. She snatched her favorite sweater and jeans with a stylish-looking pair of boots to go with them.
Today was the first day of the County fair and Faith wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Faith visited the fair later during the day, expecting the crowd to thin out. As Faith ventured outside, it was a sight to behold. Marvelous shades of yellow, red and brown adorned the trees. The occasional pop of green peeked out with the delicate wind.
Faith smiled to herself. She loved witnessing the transition to autumn. The colors that became visible mingled and played wonderfully with each other. It was as if Mother Nature had painted this magnificent work of art just for her. Faith checked her purse, ensuring she had everything required for her visit.
“Keys? Check. Money? Check.”
Faith closed her purse and walked to the County fair. She had a car, but the weather was charming, making it impossible to pass up such a great opportunity. Not to mention the fair wasn’t that far of a walk either. The sound of her boots hitting the ground and the stir of the leaves were melodic. She reveled in the adorable displays the squirrels provided along the way.
The scent of fair food filled her nose and Faith knew she was almost there. With every stride, she drew nearer and soon the noises typical of a fair collected in her ears. Faith purchased her ticket and entered through the gate. It was busy, but the crowd was small.
“Step right up! Are you the strongest man?” an announcer called. “Or woman?” he finished as he saw Faith pass.
Faith shook her head at the announcer and his eyes flicked elsewhere. She continued pushing ahead, scanning for anything interesting to do. As she examined, she became satisfied to see that someone had taken the announcer up on his challenge.
Faith came upon a game that piqued her interest, The Milk Bottle Toss. The booth attendant waved her on, and she accepted.
“How much for a round?” Faith asked, gathering the cash for the game.
“A dollar per round,” the attendant answered with her hand extended out.
Faith paid the cost for the game and the attendant gave her three heavy balls. She had three tries to knock down all the bottles stacked in a pyramid formation. Faith hurled the first ball up and caught it in her hand. She wanted to test out its weight. When satisfied with her stance, she threw the first ball.
“Missed! Try again,” the female attendant stated the obvious.
Faith took another position and threw her second ball. She dropped her head at her misfortune.
“You have one more shot left,” the attendant reminded.
Faith became determined to knock down those bottles. Even if this stupid game WAS rigged. A body appeared alongside her, which brought her eyes to the person who owned it.
“Before you throw, try this,” the man began. “Try throwing towards the bottom of the center row. Works every time for me.”
It was the same man who had taken the Strong Man Challenge. Faith moved her eyes back to the bottles, and this time did as suggested.
“SCORE!” Faith shouted and jumped for joy.
The lights around the game itself flashed and a winning siren sounded. The man examined this petite, bubbly and bouncing woman and thought her attractive. She garnered a laugh from him.
She had the prettiest shade of chestnut-brown eyes. Her hair was a brilliant chocolate-brown, with exceptional natural highlights that shone at the right angle. Her smile was breathtaking. It could make anyone smile, even on their lowest of days.
“Congratulations. Pick your prize,” the attendant asked while showcasing a variety of prizes to choose.
“I’ll take that one.” Faith pointed to an adorable-looking teddy bear.
She received her prize and was still shocked to see the man had stayed.
“Thank you for the tip.” She smiled.
“You’re welcome. Figured I would help a damsel in distress.”
“Damsel in distress, huh?” Faith questioned with an arched brow.
“My name is Aaron.” He brought his hand out for a shake.
“Mine’s Faith.” She shook Aaron’s hand.
“You know, that’s an ugly teddy bear.” Aaron gestured to the bear.
“I know. That’s why I picked him. He’s so ugly, he’s cute.”
“That’s different, but whatever blows your skirt up, I suppose.”
“You don’t think he’s cute?” Faith shoved the bear in his face.
“Upon closer inspection, he’s still ugly. But he’s growing on me,” Aaron chimed back.
Faith grinned and felt the need to stay. The two strolled the fair, scouting out the games worth trying.
“Oooooh, Ring Toss!” Faith scampered.
Aaron followed close by and for the next several minutes, he advised Faith how to win at this game.
“Chances of winning are slim here. The ring is slightly wider than the neck of the bottle, so it’ll hook around it. But because the ring itself is made of a thin plastic, it causes the ring to bounce off the bottle. So winning doesn’t occur often.”
The man responsible for the ring toss frowned at Aaron, not satisfied with how he talked the game down and revealed its secrets.
“I’ll still play it. Even if it’s fixed,” Faith added.
The booth attendant handed Faith six rings not long after she paid the fee. One ring after another, they all bounced off, flying into different directions upon hitting the targets.
“Oh well, it was worth a try.” Faith shrugged it off, knowing there to be truth to Aaron’s advice.
“How about the Shooting Gallery?” Aaron pointed, where several players had gathered.
“Sure!” Faith agreed and followed Aaron.
When they reached the game, Faith pulled out the money for a round.
“No, this one’s on me.” Aaron laid his hand on top of hers, preventing Faith from going any further.
“Oh, thank you,” Faith stuttered.
Faith and Aaron had fun going against each other to see who could shoot all the targets down first. Neither one of them won, yet they both came so close. Faith had three targets left and Aaron had four before the buzzer sounded.
“How about we get some grub? I’m hungry.” Aaron fiddled with his wallet.
“I sure could go for a corn dog and fries right about now,” Faith spoke and rubbed her hungry belly.
“Coming right up. Stay here.” Aaron pointed to the spot where they were standing.
He took off towards a food cart and later returned with what Faith wanted.
“How much do I owe you?” Faith dug around in her purse.
“Nothing. My treat.” Aaron smiled.
The sun set and the crowd decreased. The air grew chilly, and the breeze had picked up as the day grew. They became tired with the traveling from game to game.
“Hey! Why don’t we do the Ferris wheel?! It gives us a chance to get off our feet,” Faith offered.
“Sounds great to me and my feet.” Aaron led the way.
They boarded the ride and prepared for ascension. It was an open seat, so the wind still flowed in their faces. The higher and higher they went, the more picturesque the view became. The treetops were vibrant even in the night. They reached the top of the Ferris wheel and came to an abrupt stop. This startled Faith, and she jumped… directly into Aaron’s lap. The seat swung back and forth from the sudden stop. Aaron chuckled while an embarrassed Faith left the comforts of Aaron’s lap.
The Ferris wheel moved again and Aaron broke the awkward silence.
“I’m glad you thought of me as your knight in shining armor.”
“Did not,” Faith spat.
“Did too,” Aaron responded.
“Okay, maybe just for a second. But that means nothing.” Faith huffed.
Once at the bottom, a voice announced that the County Fair was closing for the night. Faith and Aaron walked together towards the exit.
“I had a great time,” Faith admitted.
“I did too,” Aaron confirmed.
“I, uh. I’d better get going. I have to get up early tomorrow. New job,” Faith explained.
“Ah, right,” Aaron trailed off in a soft voice.
“Bye,” Faith sighed.
She spun around on her heels and put one foot forward. Before she could go any further, Aaron’s hand grasped her arm and pulled her back and into him. His left hand gently caressed her face while his lips came in for a much-needed kiss.
When they parted, Faith was teetering between two emotions. Shock and awe. Her face and eyes demonstrated precisely that. She pulled Aaron in for one more kiss, returning the feeling he put into his kiss for her.
With that, they went separate ways and left in various directions. On the walk home, Faith’s mind was hung up on the events of the day, paving the way to that generous farewell. The air was becoming thick and dense, a sign that rain was about to give way.
Faith sped up, expecting to make it back home dry and not soaked. The sky lit up with a majestic shade of nightly purple. Soft thunder crept through and rumbled the ground underneath her feet. Faith ran. Tiny droplets were hitting the ground with a small pinging noise.
Faith could see her home, just a few feet more in the distance. She fled down her walkway and took cover in her front porch. Just as her keys came out with a jingle, the rain poured. She unlocked her door and slipped inside. She was beat from the day’s festivities and she didn’t even bother changing into her warm pajamas for the night. She drifted off into a deep sleep, with the soothing sound of the rain hitting her windows and the ground outside.