‘Come on,’ said Derek. ‘Let’s go on the carousel.’
I stopped moving, let go of his hand. ‘We’re a bit old, aren’t we?’
‘Hon, we’ve just gone on the Ghost Train and you didn’t comment on our age.’
Truth be told, I thought we were too old to even be at the show. Everywhere I looked, there were loved-up couples, young families with the children holding balloons and parents clutching numerous show bags, or teenagers, in what could only be described as packs.
And yet, Derek and I were wandering around enjoying ourselves. We’ve been to the sheds to look at the prized animals, the halls that house the cakes entered in the decorating competition, and the knits and sewing finalists, too. We’ve been on a number of rides, too. Just like we did on our first date, fifty-five years ago, at this very show. He’s such a soppy romantic.
The tinkling music grew louder, as if to beckon me over. ‘I just think we’ll look silly,’ I said, even as my feet edged in its direction.
‘Charmaine, don’t be ridiculous.’
I glared. ‘Don’t say that.’
Derek folded his arms across his chest, exasperated. ‘Alright. I’m sorry.’ He stroked my arm, a move that always brought me back to him over the years, no matter how angry I’d been. ‘Honey, come one. We may as well do the whole kit and caboodle while we’re here.’
And after a beat, I nodded. Why shouldn’t we? There was no age restrictions to riding the carousel.
Together we made our way to the line. Minutes passed while we moved closer to the beginning of the queue. Young children gawked at us, as if we were aliens. Derek held my hand, gave it a squeeze as we handed over our tickets; I clambered onto a unicorn, while Derek took the seahorse next to me. Up and down, round and round we went. I felt the wind in my hair and we grinned at each other like idiots, laughing. He reached for my hand and we rode the last moments on the carousel, joined in this way.
‘When was the last time you felt that free, Charmaine?’ Derek asked once we’d come off the ride. He steered me in the direction of a food truck.
‘Can’t actually remember. Must be ages ago.’
‘Thought so.’ He slid his arm around my shoulders, pulled me closer to him and kissed the side of my head, just above my ear. ‘That’s why I wanted us to go on it. There’s nothing like it. Don’t you reckon?’
He was right. He knew me well, particularly how to drag me out of an emotional slump. I squeezed his waist with my right arm. No words were needed between us at that moment. We walked together, content, loving and feeling assured and wholly understood.
‘Now,’ said Derek, as we approached the food truck. ‘Dagwood dog, or fairy floss?’