I narrow my eyes and try to make sense of the tortuous blue-black lines, snaking their way through the map of this strange city. The sun begins to dip in the west, emanating pale gleams of warm light, like dying embers of a small fire.
I rub my hands and breathe out some hot air, making me feel like a dragon, only this one exhales air. These dark, silent pine trees make it difficult to comprehend the map; I raise it slightly to catch some light before it finally gets dark.
At last, I make out where I am. I’m almost at the edge of these woods, where my odyssey would end. Longfully I look toward the roughly trodden path, at its end lies my elysium.
I trek and trodd, jump and wade and at last I hear the music. Faint, distant hum of a melody playing from some old instrument. Like a drunk jazz musician, it goes on playing. I’m close.
I make it through the final shrub, and in front of me lies the carnival. Abandoned, unkempt, uncared and nested beyond the pines, this is the place I saw in my dream.
The roller coaster still works as it climbs atop steadily, until it plummets to the ground, in one great leap. The roller coaster is empty.
The bulbs above the desolate trivia game still glow- on and off, on and off.
The screen above the horoscope machine still blinks red- ‘Insert Coin Here.’
The rider less Carousel Horse goes up and down. Round and round the brightly lit centrepiece.
All you hear is solitary music from dying carnival swings. Nobody has been here for a very long time.
I make my way to the place I wanted to go. The moment where maybe I’d find my answer.
I head towards the ominously rotating giant wheel. The wheel pauses and ignoring my fear of heights, I shiver as I lock myself on a seat. The swing immediately powers up and takes me slowly to the top. I see the carnival receding below and the night sky coming closer and closer.
The moment is near.
And just as I reach the top, the swing creaks and halts, leaving me hanging in the air, above the desolate and hollow carnival. I hold my breath and blink. Waiting.
A soft wind blows and sends a shiver down my spine as I finally breathe.
No answer comes.
Nothing but silence.
At some distance in the star studded sky, I see the sparkles of a firework. Someone somewhere fired it up for me? Another one races to the top with its burning tail, finally exploding into the night, sending vapors of fire everywhere.
This moment on this brightly lit, rusted giant wheel is where I thought I’d find you. Waiting for me. On this buckled seat. And maybe, we’d share this together. The distance, the height, the dark, this cold, the spark.
But maybe, this is how it ends and this is why the dream brought me here. Wistfully, I smile. For here it is, that I’ve found my closure.