One year ago
Oh man, I can’t wait to go again!
My head was still spinning for the adrenaline rush I got from the last ride; the crazy drops, the strong wind hitting my face and me shouting at the top of lungs as the ride took us through its twists and turns. I am definitely coming back to this ride, but not too soon! I already had a go three times, and Nancy has been a real sport about it but I had a feeling Nancy will have a kitten if I proposed to go on the ride again.
Me, Nancy, Leeland and Aiden decided to take a break from the rides and check out some of the game stalls at the festival. Of course, I zoomed in on the free throw, with its inviting, cuddly, giant stuffed toys; a game typically found at carnivals where you do 2-3 throws for $5 normally and pray first, aim later to shoot the basketball through the hoop. When it comes to this game, I am a doggy with a bone. I have never, ever won at this stupid thing and it is an absolute goal/obsession in my life to win at least once in free throw. So, here I am ready to attempt three consecutive shoots. A few minutes later, my score card read Aala zero! Stupid game one gazillion! AAAAGHHHHHHH!!! Moving on, while I was dealing with this crisis, Aiden came to stand by me, either to enjoy my humiliation at the hands of the game or to encourage me… He probably came for the later as he is essentially a sweetheart, only when he is not being a scary manly man. He also tried his skills and much to my glee and satisfaction he couldn’t get one ball through the rim… I so did the evil laugh in my head.
While we were busy with the free throw, Leeland and Nancy were having their own fun at the Whac-A-Mole; a perfect way to beat the shit of an imaginary or real nemesis. Leeland won the game and presented Nancy with a sweet-looking black and white small stuffed bear with an adorable snotty nose. Boys being boys Aiden and Leeland went into a combative stance and started playing the game against each other. It was so much fun, watching grown men act like 4-year olds. Since I was cheering Aiden, he won (totally a smug face here) and won a pink teddy. While that was a hilarious sight, a 5 11’ broad shouldered man carrying a pink teddy, my smile went right out of my system, when Nancy went ahead and whined and asked Aiden to give her the teddy. Here is the thing: I didn’t want the stuffed toy, but I was definitely under the impression that since her boyfriend already won her a stuffed toy, I will ask Aiden to give me the soft toy. I may not be his girlfriend but we were friends, and he definitely had no use for a squashy pink fur ball. When Aiden gave the stuffed toy to Nancy at her persistent whining, I was seriously taken aback by her selfishness and couldn’t help but ask myself “Well, she already had one, why she did she had to get the one HE won?” With sheer will I kept my face expressionless, smiled at Nancy and suggested we move on to enjoy the rest of the fair.
One year later
I think it was Aiden’s plan to visit the carnival again; this time it was just the two of us. This year the carnival boasted a special theme, An early Halloween. If he tried to scare the bejijezes out of me, I was so going to murder him! Tonight’s plan was simple, try not to get scared, be wary of Aiden pulling a scare Aala stunt, stuff my face with everything fried and finally have a fill of the game stalls followed by showing off of my lack of skills and sportsman spirits at every game. The super scary costumes were so not helping, especially if one is about to smack right into your face right after you make a turn! Any ho…. Let the games begin!
Two hours of non-stop stall hopping and I was famished and tired. It seemed we wanted to try every single game at the fair, and I should add without shame that we tried them all. Which is why, I won the first stuffed toy at a kid’s game, the kind where you fill a balloon with a water gun till it bursts… the most difficult part (sarcastic eye roll) was to keep the gun steady and keep your hand on the trigger. On the bright side, I did manage to land a basketball through the hoop at free throw! Yaey me! Aiden was seriously charged in our pursuit of enjoying various games, and he kept taking me to different stalls and some we visited more than once. While at majority we sucked but we did have fun poking each other and harmlessly insulting each other’s capabilities at the games; at the end Aiden did win two stuffed toy prizes though.
Later, “hunh?” was my response to something Aiden said, as I was too focused on the upcoming smog-like effects and a guy couple of yards away, jumping from the fog and scaring people. “Are these enough?” he asked again, pointing to the three stuffed toys I was currently sporting. I replied with a head nod followed by a wide smile that should have dislocated my jaw but didn’t. However, the smile was soon followed by a frown and confusion as to why he asked this question. So, I asked him what he meant by the question. His response all but floored me. “Remember last year when we were at the carnival, I won a stuffed toy at Whac-A-Mole, but before I could give it to you, Nancy asked me for it and I couldn’t say no. You were very kind about it and showed no response to this, but I really felt bad.” Upon hearing this my jaw dropped and I was listening to him rooted at my place while he continued to rock my world. “So, I promised myself that the next time we come here I will win you more than one stuffed toy!” I was speechless, I am pretty sure my cognitive skills at that point were nonexistent, because no coherent words left my mouth for some time. What I did feel was a sweet warmth spreading my insides, making me feel all gooey and stuff. He had remembered my non-response and decided then and there to rectify it at the first available opportunity, it was by far the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me. I think my escalating muteness worried him and he snapped me out of my thoughts by a “Aala, are you okay?” Now how does one respond to such a question, after one of most intense moments of my life. I just shook my head and told him all was well and thanked him for his kindness and sweetness.
“I know the exact moment I fell in love with you”, said Aala to Aiden. Aiden raised a cocky eyebrow and replied, “do you now?”
“Yep, the night you won me three stuffed toys at the fair, you also won my heart!”