Candy Floss

We were talking about fairs, I can’t remember how or why we got onto that subject. And then he said that they always remind him of ‘that stuff on a stick’, you know it’s pink. Candy floss, I said. That’s it, he said. Then he went on to say that he’d never had it. And I tried to describe what it was like, how the fluff-like stuff melted into a kind of soft toffee, very sweet. I was enthralled by the texture as a child, particularly the metamorphosis from floss to stickiness on one’s tongue. But all the same I felt as he did about fairs and fairgrounds, a mixture of fear and fascination. I’ve probably told you this before, he said, but I remember going to a fair as a child and seeing a man coming out of one of those fighting rings, you know the ones where anyone can fight, and his face was all bloodied. He hadn’t told me it before. And I was thinking about how such things would’ve been outlawed by the time I was his age when I heard him reasoning through his memory and suggesting to himself that what he saw was actually the man washing off fake blood, not real and that he must’ve been a plant to induce others to participate. All this in a matter of moments. And the memories flood in, indistinct ones, as childish ones often are, unresolved, unworked through, all those sounds, smells, fears and clamouring.