The day of the fair was cloudy, but as Lexy and I explored the different tents and rode the various rides, the clouds shifted and the sun made an appearance. Despite the tension between us the day before, today it was nearly gone.
Lexy had rung the doorbell just as mom was clearing the table of our breakfast dishes. I opened the door to a very giddy Lexy. She wore a bright pink tank top and white capris--the brightest I'd ever seen her wear.
"You have no idea the fun you're about to have." She pulled me out of the house, just after I yelled a quick goodbye to mom.
Now on the boardwalk, I watched as tourists strode by with tan lines where their sunglasses usually sat, loud hawaiian shirts, and wide shorts. Girls with pigtails rushed through the crowds while holding hands, their faces marked with blue, yellow, and pink cotton candy. Little boys begged their parents for more change for the games, and teens sat back on benches watching everyone go by, while pretending to be too cool to care. The seagulls cried over the fun they would have tonight, once the fair closed for the day. Overall, it was a pretty decent day.
After buying a couple of churros (I was addicted thanks to Lexy), we ended up at the ring toss. Christmas lights dangled from the wooden pillars holding the tent up and cheap plush toys hung on hooks behind the guy manning the game. He had a long ponytail and a smarmy grin. His shirt was the same one every other employee at the fair wore: yellow with green stripes, except his had a ketchup stain on the collar.
"Best out of three?" Lexy challenged.
We handed the guy some cash and started tossing the rings. She laughed and I found it contagious. She scored two rings on her first try, while I scored none. I was a bit luckier the second time around and scored three, but she beat me again with four.
I pretended to be embarrassed as the guy handed her a large pink pig, but deep down I was elated. She now had a keepsake from our time together, even if it was a stuffed toy with eyes to wide apart and a creepy grin.
We got on the ferris wheel last, just as the sun was setting. The rickety seat rocked beneath our weight as we rose into the infinite sky. I glanced down at our feet and then just beyond them to the ground far, far below. Lexy was quiet now, her hair in a messy braid and her shoulders slightly burned from the day. She smelled faintly of sugar and sun. I never wanted to kiss her so much as I did the moment she faced me, her eyes bright with unshed tears and her lips pink from her biting them.
But I didn't kiss her, instead I held her hand and let her continue to stare past this moment and into her thoughts that floated over the wide, endless ocean.
Lexy finally came over to dinner that night. She'd changed into a baby blue summer dress and flip-flops before I went to get her. Her hair was tied back in a loose knot and the hint of makeup flushed her cheeks. She was beautiful.
Mom and dad asked questions all night about her family, school, and what interests she had. After mom's meatloaf, we settled into our cheesecake and ice-cream.
"We really appreciate you hanging out with Logan," mom said, eyeing Lexy shyly. "We were worried about him and the move."
"Mom, I was fine," I said, rolling my eyes at Lexy.
"I'm actually glad for the time I've spent with Logan." She paused and looked down at her plate. "It's brought a different perspective to my life."
No one spoke again as the desserts became smaller and smaller.
After dinner, Lexy and I opted for a walk on the beach. She hugged my mom goodbye and gave my dad a handshake, ("Pretty strong, I like it!"), before leaving.
The sky was lit only by stars and the sand was cool under our toes. A slight breeze caressed us as it danced over the water, making Lexy's dress flutter. The sound of rippling cotton was soft as we walked on, comfortable with our silence. At some point between four or five houses past her own, Lexy grabbed my hand and I didn't let go. It felt right, just the two of us on this beach--like a summer that was written in a storybook.
I glanced over at her profile caught in the moonlight and it suddenly struck me, not for the first time, just how beautiful she was. She looked so sad, but so at peace just then.