Lavi stood in the cool dew-covered field. She loved the feel of the dampness on her toes. In this moment of meditation with the bird’s screams bouncing off her ears, she felt connected with the earth.
Soon the field would be stamped down; run over by the tires of rubes coming to enjoy the sights and sounds. By children running here and there, stuffing their faces with cotton candy or candy apples. The bright red sticky treat was too much of a draw for their large excited eyes. All washed down with Old Tom’s famous lemon slushie.
She reached for the sky, arching her back opening herself to the day. The cool breeze blew through her hair, delighting her senses with the smell of the funnel cake fryer warming up. In her sixteen years of traveling from town to town, she had never grown tired of that smell.
“The smell of home,” she whispered and gave thanks for the day and for the rest of the carnies with her. Her life, her family.
The morning was filled with the sounds of work, groans, and grunts as everyone prepared and limbered up. No one spoke if it could be helped. Their day would be filled with chatter and as the sun rose to urge the day to begin, they all preferred the silence.
Lavi made her way around the carnival grounds heading for her recent favorite spot. The Fishing Hole booth. It was not the game that made it her favorite; there was nothing very exciting about fishing items in a fishbowl.
The prizes were goldfish, but on occasion, Shorty would get lucky and find tadpoles or baby chicks. Today, he had something even better and Lavi had been begging her parents to let her keep one.
As she approached, Shorty gave her a toothless grin and held out a large fish tank with a little baby turtle inside.
Lavi giggled with delight. “You got me a tank! Shorty, you shouldn’t have – they’re expensive.”
The short older man rubbed his scratchy beard and looked embarrassed. “Twernt nothing. I found it back in Tulsa by the dumpsters behind the pet store.”
With another excited squeal, she gave him a hug. “Thank you!”
He turned away, embarrassed. “You hear that Ferris Wheel starting up? You know what that means, run along, the day’s about to start.”
In the distance, Lavi could hear the sounds of the excited crowd queuing up to get in.
It was time.
Her father’s voice boomed, filling the tent to be heard over the chatter. “Come one come all! Welcome, welcome. You are in for a treat today!”
She checked her straps to make sure they were secure as the butterflies began to flutter.
“Direct your eyes up, up up, and to the top! Be prepared to be amazed by the stunning Lavi on her flying trapeze!”
Lavi clapped her chalked hands and stepped out into the spotlight, smiling and waving to the deafening crowd.