Back Down to Earth

She stared back at me in silence for a beat before she pulled her hand back and scoffed at me. “Get out!”

“It’s true. Don’t believe me if you want. My great-grandmother was a gypsy,” I replied airily pretending to be miffed. To my surprise she leaned in close again, an expression on her face I couldn’t quite read. It was as if she wanted to believe me but was thinking better about it.

“You’re so full of it, Nick. I should’ve known better when I started talking to you at the bar.”

I looked away again, trying (and failing) not to smile. To my surprise I found it wasn’t so unbearable after all, being 150 feet off the ground.

After the ferris wheel came back down to earth, I turned towards her expectantly.

“Well, what next, tour guide? Or are you so utterly disgusted with my fortune telling skills that you want to abandon me?”

She laughed, the sound of it ringing like a bell and calling the attention of a few bystanders. Her cheeks were flushed, whether from the cold or something else, I couldn’t tell.

“It’s not the first time a guy has fed me a pick-up line, though I must admit, that was the most creative line I’ve ever heard.”

We began walking in no particular direction, the bright lights of the carousel and the excited yelps of young children receding in the distance as we talked. She asked what I was doing in Chicago, and I explained how I’d recently been hired at a local community college to teach painting. It wasn’t the best paying job, but as an aspiring artist, I knew that my chances were better in Chicago than in Atlanta.

Part of me wondered why it was so easy to speak with her. It was as if I’d always known her.

The End

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