The heat snuck up on everyone, draping September in a warmth August hadn't deserved.
The fair had been there all summer on the waste ground at the edge of town: a heady mix of candy floss, sugar doughnuts, and low, lingering possibility.
Yasmeen and Roisin were there week after week, spending loose change to sit and hold hands on the ferris wheel with the flickering neon lights and rusted safety bar.
And if, at the apex of that ferris wheel, that one last time, one turned to the other and suggested "How about we move in together?" it wasn't noticed by anyone else.
Chloe, Ali, and Michael stalked the stalls, finding nothing but ways to lose money, falling momentarily in love with ride operators and each other.
An intruder. A punch. An arm around a shoulder, two boys limped down a deserted street, together. It could be the start of something.
And a girl, recently fatherless, walked home alone, putting her grief on the shelf with leftover tokens.
Two couples, fair veterans, replaced youth with experience of which rides are worth the expense.
It was a close call this year. Mark's arm was still in a cast and Graeme's stick a permanent feature. Ruth just well enough, but Rami fussed all the same.
The unspoken: this may well be the last fair for them all, together.
They laughed like it wasn't, settled on a patch of burnt out grass, and imagined it wasn't the last night but the first.
Night fades to dawn; a vanishing act occurs.
The last night of the fair becomes memories for autumn, the reminder of flashing lights amidst falling leaves.
Siobhan Dunlop is a UK-based poet and book blogger with poems published in 404 Ink, Pixel Heart, Crêpe & Penn, 3 Moon, Vamp Cat, TERSE., Door is a Jar, and elsewhere. They love reworking classic texts and reading about tech, and can be found on Twitter under @fiendfull.