Stephanie and I walked out of the pavilion and into a world of rides, clowns and show bags. With all the excitement and noise spinning around me I soon forgot to be sad and we lined up for a ride on the dodgem cars. Mum bought some tickets and Stephanie and I climbed into the same car. She steered because she was bigger than me and I couldn’t reach the pedals or steering wheel. The bell rang and we were soon off, whizzing around and around, sometimes bumping into other cars and swerving all over the place. We were laughing our heads off the whole time and I was quite breathless by the end.
My head was still spinning after I got out of the dodgem car and Mum had bought some fairy floss for Stephanie and me. As we walked along holding hands and eating our fairy floss I told Stephanie that I had never had so much fun in my life. We swore we would be best friends forever and I felt my eyes sparkling with joy. We gave each other a big hug and I thought how amazing it was that I felt so perfect and happy when I was with Stephanie.
I was really tired by the end of the day, but I was floating with happiness as I sat in the car. I kept watching the showground through the back window of the car as we drove away and I could see the tops of the ferris wheel and some of the rides poking above the trees. There was still some fairy floss left on my stick and I licked it with my tongue, giggling at the way its sugary spider webs dissolved in my mouth. When I closed my eyes, I could picture the clown’s heads with their wide open mouths turning from side to side in the middle of all that noise and dust.
That night at dinner, the girls were still talking excitedly about the show.
“Did you see how cute the lambs were?”
“I didn’t go anywhere near the animals,” said Samantha. “It was too dusty and smelly in there.”
“Oh, but they were so cute, and the smell wasn’t that bad,” said Jasmine.
“What about the trick riders?” Catherine said, “They were fantastic. There was this one guy that leaned right down off his horse and picked a girl up from the ground and then she climbed on his shoulders as they rode.”
“Yeah, I saw that. They were so amazing.”
“I’ll tell you what was amazing was the rides. Did you go on the zipper?”
“No way! It made me feel sick just looking at it.”
“I nearly was!” said Samantha as she swallowed a mouthful of peas. “It looked tame but as soon as I climbed in the cage it took off, and then I was upside down and suddenly spinning around. My legs were all wobbly when I got off.”
There was no way I would have gotten on a ride like that. I thought about how much fun I’d had with Stephanie on the dodgem cars and smiled to myself.
“Well it’s a good thing you all had fun,” said Dad, “Because next year we’ll be at a different show.”
“What do you mean?” Mum suddenly put down her knife and fork and looked sharply at him.
“I just heard this afternoon, we’re moving again. It’s only a rumour, but you know how these things work out.”
“I thought we had decided to stay here while the girls were at school?” I watched Mum’s face because she didn’t look very happy.
“Well, we’ll talk about it after dinner,” said Dad.
The girls had gone quiet and everyone had forgotten about the show.
As I lay in bed after dinner I could hear Mum and Dad talking in the lounge room. Every now and then Dad would raise his voice, not quiet yelling but I could tell he was putting his foot down and wasn’t going to budge.
When Mum came into my bedroom to tuck me in bed, I knew she had been crying. I gave her an extra hard hug when she kissed me goodnight.
“Mum, what’s happening?” I asked quietly.
“There’s nothing to worry about, Molly,” she said. “Just go to sleep, darling, and everything will be all right.” She turned out the light but left my bedroom door slightly open.
That night I had a dream that was full of images of colourful things spinning around. Suddenly I was on the back of a horse, riding over jumps and through hoops; then I was in a dodgem car and laughing my head off, but when I turned to smile at Stephanie it was actually Dad holding the steering wheel and we were driving out of the showground.