It was a gorgeous July day. That fresh morning, my younger brother Rob reminded me that I had long ago promised to take him to the amusement park near our house. Since the day was such a fine one, I decided to take him. We put on our lightest clothing, as it looked as though the day was going to be a hot one, and set out.
The day was indeed very hot, but we had the time of our lives! Rob and I stuffed ourselves with cotton candy and ice cream. He rode on every ride that he could, and I went on just a few myself. Just a few -- I get motion sickness and so am limited to what rides I can actually go on without making myself sick. It had been a long day and I was ready to go home. I was just about to suggest this to Rob when he saw the Ferris Wheel.
"Meg! Megan, look at that ride! Can we go on that one, please?" He begged, pointing his finger at the ride of his choice. I turned around and saw it.
The Ferris Wheel was huge. It was absolutely enormous. The sight of it already made me stomach feel queasy. I swallowed hard.
"Are you sure you want to go on that particular ride?" I said shakily.
"Yup, can we please? It looks so cool, don't you think? Look at how big it is!"
"I see. It's really cool, I'm sure but ... but..."
"Please, Meg? Pretty please with sugar and a cherry on top?" He looked up at me with those big, sad blue eyes.
"But ..." I sighed. "Oh, okay." I was grumbling. "But after this ride we have to go home."
"Okay, just as long as we get to go on the Ferris Wheel!"
Rob was so excited that I almost was glad that we were going on the ride, but I wasn't. I was in fact so unhappy that I prayed while we were waiting in line that they wouldn't allow kids his age on the Ferris Wheel. My prayer was not answered in the way I hoped it would be, because as long as a child under twelve years old had an adult with him/her, they could go on the ride. I was twenty, so it was not a problem.
You may wonder why I was so violently against the idea of riding on a Ferris Wheel. The fact is that I had a terrible fear of heights. I was horribly afraid of heights and so the very idea of riding on a Ferris Wheel was very scary to me. It was almost a family joke. My grandfather could not be in an elevator, ever, because he was so afraid. My mother was afraid of spiders. Rob was afraid of monsters and I was afraid of heights.
We got into the car and sat down. "They don't have any safety harnesses at all? " I exclaimed. I was already very nervous, and we hadn't even started.
"Don't worry, Meg. The ride is not scary at all. We just go around in a big circle, see? It won't be scary," Rob comforted. He was acting more mature then I was.
"Hello!" a young man said cheerfully. He was sitting next to me. "My name is Ben and this is my brother Jason." He gestured towards a young boy who looked around Rob's age.
"My name is Robert, but everyone calls me Rob," my little brother said brightly. There was a jolt and we started. Both boys sat together and immediately started chatting. Instant friends. Rob had always been good at making friends.
I sat ridged in my seat, my knees must have been shaking as the wheel took us slowly up and up, higher and higher. I looked over the side and felt sick. We weren't even far off the ground and I was already losing it. Rob and his friend, however, were having fun. They leaned far over the side and waved at everyone. Too far over the side.
"Rob! Don't lean so far over! You're giving me a heart attach!" I screeched. Rob moved back in his seat and gave me a sheepish look.
"Sorry, Meg," he squeaked.
"May I ask what your name is, ma'am?" Ben politely.
I forced myself to stop looking over the side and look at him. I did and then wished I hadn't. He was the most handsome man I had ever met. He had light brown hair, beautiful brown eyes and looked as though when he was standing would be tall. I felt my heart flutter and my hands were shaky. I was already feeling scared, so the feelings of attraction did not help the situation.
"Meg. Megan," I stammered, feeling dizzier by the minute. We were up so high!
"Are you all right, Meg?"
I liked the way he said my name.
"She is afraid of heights," Rob explained. "Be careful because she might throw up on you like she did on me last year when we rode the roller coaster."
My cheeks we burning red. I could have cried. I was in a Ferris Wheel, feeling sick, and now was realizing that love at first sight really happens. Things were definitely not going well for me.
"Why did you decide to go on a ride that makes you so afraid?" Ben asked kindly.
"Because Rob wanted to go so badly," I replied. He was about to say something when there was a terrible jolt -- and we stopped moving.
"What's happening?" I cried.
"Wow! We're stuck!" Jason said.
I knew that if I had been standing up, I would have fallen. My hands were shaking uncontrollably and I knew that I was going to cry if I opened my eyes of said something. We were stuck in the Ferris Wheel! Our perfect day was now turning into a nightmare.
"Are you okay, Meg?" Rob asked. I shook my head.
I suddenly felt his warm, steady hands over my icy-cold ones.
"Your hands are shaking, Meg." Why had I ever agreed to ride on the Ferris Wheel? I knew how terrified I was of heights! "It'll be okay, Meg. The Wheel is perfectly safe," he paused, "I'll make sure nothing happens to you." This comforted me more then words can express and I opened my eyes.
My hands flew up to my mouth as I gasped. We were at the highest point, and the Wheel seemed to be as high as a ten-story building, I could have screamed. Everyone below us looked like tiny ants. There was great activity below the Ferris Wheel. Evidently, they were trying to figure out what was wrong. I was still shaking.
"How long have we been stuck now?" I whispered at length.
"Almost 7 minutes," Ben said. That wasn't very comforting. Ben took hold of my hands again. He took a deep breath and then said, "So, do you guys live near here?" He was trying to turn my attention to other things. I was so grateful.
"Yes, we live within walking distance from here." I replied.
"Really? We are very near here too, although it isn't quite walking distance. I just moved in a couple of days ago, and my parents also moved close by. I took Jason here to get him out of their way," Ben explained. I was still absolutely terrified, but my hands were shaking less.
"Do you go to any church?" Ben asked hopefully.
"We go to the Sunny Side Church of Christ. Sunny Side is what everyone calls our neighborhood," I said.
"We were planning to join your church!" Ben exclaimed.
If I hadn't been so afraid and sick, then I would have thought that this was all a dream. It was too perfect to be true. Ben kept talking.
"What do you study in college or university?"
"I'm studying Literature and English. And you?" My voice was less shaky now.
"I just finished university this year. I have a degree in History and Ministries." He said proudly.
"Congratulations." I managed to say. Ben was a dream -- he had to be. He was too wonderful. "How long now?" I said after looking over the side again.
"Fifteen minutes. We've been stuck for fifteen minutes."
We were trapped on the Ferris wheel for almost thirty minutes. In that time Ben managed to learn everything about me, that I have two younger sisters who are in high school. We both loved animals, and both had a great passion for music. He talked about everything that he could think of to keep my mind off of how scared I was.
I was just beginning to think that we were never going to get off of the Wheel when we felt another jolt and started moving again. Everyone was cheering and clapping. I felt tears streaming down my cheeks. Ben held my hands until we reached the bottom.
The boys jumped out first, talking together about how much fun they'd had. Ben got out next and then helped me out. The moment he let go of my arm I had to grab something for support. I was still very shaky from the experience.
"Here, hold onto my arm," Ben said, and I took it gratefully. "Can we walk you home?" I nodded.
I was starting to feel myself again as we walked back home. It was cooler now and a breeze blew my auburn hair every which way. I was now very self-conscious about my appearance and wished that I didn't have any freckles, even if I didn't have many at all. We stopped in front of our door.
"Thank you, Ben," I said, feeling like I was going to cry again when he left. I turned to ring the doorbell.
"Say Meg ..." he began. " Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?" he asked hopefully. I turned and looked into his beautiful eyes.
"I'd love to." He smiled and I smiled. And suddenly, I was glad that I'd decided to ride the Ferris Wheel.
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