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I know that it must seem odd to you, but I remember Fennisbury fondly. It was my childhood home, after all. I remember it as an ordinary, welcoming little village, with neat flower beds along the roadsides, well kept gardens, and most of all a real sense of community.

I was a child then, of course. Most of my memories are of the summers there, running free, playing with my friends in the streets with no adult supervision other than “be home by teatime” – halcyon days which seemed endless.

Most of all, though, when my thoughts turn to nostalgia I remember the fair.

Every year, as spring turned towards summer, the Fennisbury Fair brought everybody together on the village green. Happy, smiling faces everywhere, the enticing scents of fresh food stalls and the excitement of all the games, the coconut shy, the ring toss, the donkey rides and of course the raffle.

I was barely six years old when I won the raffle. Even with both hands, I could hardly lift the prize, and the pastor had to help me find the right spot, but it was nice and sharp and cut through so easily. The surprised squeak I let out when the blood spurted high into the sky was emulated by my brothers for years afterwards, but then that’s family for you.

That was a good year – I got a big stout woman with plenty of blood in her – and I remember the warm feeling of pride to this day. I brought in one of the best summers we’d had for a long while, and all that year as I lazed in the sunshine I tasted her iron in my mouth and smiled. To this day, I still remember the sweet taste of blood whenever sunshine warms my face.

It was even better when my cousin Harry – who always had to outdo me on everything – won the following year and got an old, dried up fellow who barely had enough blood to dab on everybody’s heads, which of course meant a short, wet summer and a hideously long, cold winter. It didn’t matter what he did then, I was always going to be the lucky one of the family.

Oh, I know, I understand why this seems so terrible to you now, but I was a child then, with a child’s understanding. It had always been this way in Fennisbury, and I thought it was the same everywhere.

And yes, sometimes I still wish that outsiders had never come to Fennisbury Fair.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: As promised, a new standalone #fridayflash to mark my return after illness. I hope you enjoy it.)

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