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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.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.