I ate cotton candy and felt sick. This was in a cement waste that I guess was a parking lot, or the approach to a parking lot. No idea where we were, someplace with a lot of cement laid down. Families from all over the county. Two counties? No idea. This was before my time, as it were. I was present but just as a package, a child. I didn't know anything, like what a county was. But there were families from all over. The world had let into it all these beings from odd corners, places you didn't know were there. Not-Waymont, not-Sinclaire and so on. The world had erupted people, strangers.
I mean to say this was some sort of scouting jamboree, and I was eight or nine, and I wasn't suited to facing certain facts, one being the unlimited number of strangers on the planet. So that was an issue. That I was already a shell creature, a terrible introvert, and the day at the jamboree shoved me up against the big world. Nothing tracked with experience. How the sidewalks kept going when they should have ended. The broken drifts of people, and their being families: mom and dad and kids, over and over, the right old pattern but filled with people who weren't people.
I felt tension like a thin film in my stomach. I think. I was scared that the world was this wide open. I didn't know that was my fear, but decades have passed and now I do. Possibly. I don't remember the day that well. It was a no-good day, and it involved cotton candy and scouting and my family and a sense that the world was too big. Past that I have no details, just an impression, a feeling, a green-brown expanse of bruised aura I don't want to know what happened, really. I bet I wasn't fondled or raped or burnt with matches. I bet I just got a sense of what my family was like, and what I could expect of them, and how we stood in the world beyond us. How I would be treated by my family, and how the world was going to treat us. I lived the day and noticed a few things without knowing it, and my memory has been shot ever since. Just can't call the day up.
But it ended with a trudge across the cement waste. The car was no place, we would never find it. The shadows were getting longer and bigger than they should have been. It felt unnatural to me, like this part of the world had an odd law that made things dark at a certain time. I ate cotton candy from a stick, and I’d never had it before. It looked great. It was one of those artificial creations that just looked the way things should look, like grape soda or banana-seat bicycles. Not some lumpy accident of nature. But I got sick; not vomit sick, but queasy, and maybe that was an issue with my parents. I don't remember. But we found the car and finally we drove home. My brother had lost some contests—I don't even know what you do at these things, but he lost. He froze up. I'm pretty sure of that, but no details.
I ate the cotton candy and felt bad. I've never had any since then, I guess because I don't want to feel queasy. But I've ingested a great many other things to excess, stupid things, and have often felt sick. Only cotton candy has been ruled out. It's because of that day. I don't really know what happened, but it was no good.