Saturday, September 28, 2013

Prompt: Balance, settle, cross, thrill, lost

James sits next to Catherine on the ferris wheel bench, trying not to clench his hands on the safety bar. He hates heights, but she had bounced up and down and clapped her hands when they wandered near. How could he say no? He wanted to please her, keep her smiling, keep that sparkle in her eyes when she looked at him.

The wheel lurches up, their bucket swinging forward and back, rising on the back curve. He couldn’t figure out where to look that wouldn’t make him sick. Forward? Aw, hell no. Up? Are you kidding? Down? Bad, bad idea. Look at Catherine. That’s okay, isn’t it? Up here? No one paying any attention? She’s looking all around like a happy kid. Even through his rising misery -- yes, that was a pun, he thinks sourly -- watching her makes him happy.

“Oh, James, look! I love how the lights end at the ocean, and then it’s just black out there. See those lights? I wonder what kind of ship that is? What do you think?” She chatters on and seems oblivious to his quiet.

They’re almost to the top, and the wheel stops, their bucket swinging even more wildly. His knuckles gleam white against the bar. The roaring in his ears drowns out even her voice, and suddenly he feels hot resentment that she dragged him up here. No wait, that’s not fair…

Her white hand slides over his, light and dark fingers intertwined on the rail. She’s looking at him now, really looking at him, realizing, oh god, she’s going to think he’s a total dweeb and a loser. Suddenly she smiles.

“I think you’re the bravest boy I know, James,” she says quietly, so he has to lean toward her to hear.

He pulls back. She feels sorry for him? That’s just—

“Did Hogan give your class the same lecture about courage?”

What? English lit Hogan? James shakes his head.

“He said courage is being afraid of something, and doing it anyway.” She reached her other hand up and brushed the hair from his eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you would hate this.” She leaned the rest of the way until their lips met.

He didn’t notice the lurching, the swaying, the wheel drawing them up and around. He didn’t really notice much of anything until some time later, when they were walking around the fairgrounds, arm in arm, and they neared the ferris wheel again. He looked down at her with a lopsided smile.

“I didn’t hate it that much, actually. Want to ride again?”

Dogs in house

Time writing:
~35 minutes

September word count:

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