I stood there, at the base of the ferris wheel, waiting. He was late, if he was even coming at all, and now I wasn’t so sure. It wasn’t cold, but seeing all the other people having fun was making me feel lonely and chilly. Their grinning faces flashed past in a blur of delight that I wasn’t a part of. I yanked at my jacket, holding it closed.
I waited and waited. Was it even worth it?
I noticed a little boy licking his ice cream cone. A little girl sitting on a bench was watching him. A few moments later he marched over to her, sat down, and they both happily licked the dripping chocolate.
I scanned the crowds again and watched as two laughing, young teenagers climbed into a bumper car together. He put his arm around her as they sat down.
I heard a shout, and looked over at an old man throwing his hands in the air at one of the carnival games. Triumphantly, he took the large stuffed giraffe the carnival worker handed him. He passed the giraffe to his wife and she kissed him on the cheek.
I glanced at my watch. He was now an hour late. Why was I still even standing here? Angrily, I stomped into the ferris wheel line. I was hurt. I felt rejected, unwanted. I thrust my ticket at the carnival employee.
The ferris wheel groaned as I went up and up. My seat stopped at the top and I looked out over the carnival. The breeze felt refreshing to my frustrated body. I shouldn’t have bothered to wait that long. Obviously I wasn’t very important to him.
I clambered out of my seat when my ride was over. I was still irritated, but I resolved to have fun at the carnival by myself.
I was chucking darts at paint-filled balloons when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and came face to face with the guy who ran the ferris wheel. He smiled at me.
“Hi. I, um, well, you were standing by the ferris wheel for a long time…and I couldn’t help but notice you…” He shuffled his feet nervously. “And I was wondering if…well, I’m done with my shift for the night…and I have two tickets for the roller coaster. Would you like to go with me?” He brushed his sandy hair out of his eyes.
I felt myself smiling in return, my annoyance vanishing. “Sure,” I said, setting down my darts. He held out his hand, and I took it. I scanned the crowds again as we walked to the roller coaster. I didn’t see the boy I had been waiting for, but maybe this night would turn out better than expected.