They joined other classmates and soon became a swarm of teenagers wandering the midways like a roving band of peasants. The talk of Rich’s exploits at the basketball concession was the buzz, but soon it faded into collective dialogs of good times and silliness. At first, Rich was the center of attention, but soon blended into an equal partnership of other episodes. Rich was a part of something special. As it neared closing time the group began to recede in numbers, strength, and vigor.
“I don’t want this night to end,” Rich said to Sally.
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“Nothing,” Rich said and smiled, “It would take too long to explain.”
She cocked her head, squinted, and paused, “I think I know what you mean.”
Rich bummed a ride home with the father of a boy in his class.
That night Rich lay in bed with the remainder of the stuffed animals around him, as if they were bodyguards. He smiled contently, fighting sleep.
The next day he returned to the fair, long enough to grab a bite at the food tent and give a stuffed animal to Mrs. Dotson.
She smiled and thanked him. “Did you have a good day, yesterday?” She asked.
“Especially last night; it was perfect.”
“I expect you will have more,” she smiled as she examined the stuffed animal.
“But this was the first,” Rich said. “I’ll never forget it.”