From the top of the Ferris wheel, I could clearly see over 35 years into the past.
The other night my wife and I are at the base of a tall Ferris wheel. Colorful lights chase each up against a dark night sky. Blues, reds, greens spray down on us like mist an evening shower.
I don’t know why, but I was nervous about what came next.
“Do you want to ride the Ferris wheel?” I said.
My words felt like those of a teenager on a first date – clumsy, unsure, and tentative.
She said yes.
I don’t know why I was nervous. We’ve ridden dozens of Ferris wheels together. Add to the formula we’ve been doing this since we’re still figuring each other out as clumsy teenagers. The truth is, she still makes me nervous.
What makes someone nervous to ask someone else to share a ride in an amusement park after 35 years? Together we’ve raised two wonderful children, laughed and cried into each other’s shoulders. There is no home like being in the arms of each other.
But for some reason, she can still send me back in time to where I am unsure if she will say yes if I ask for a second date.
The ride operator waves us onto the ride, his voice fighting for air in the loud music swimming around us.
As the car rises into the air, she smiles at me. Again, I am unsure of myself. I’ve been here with her before and the feeling is always the same. I am in love.
She playfully swings the car knowing my discomfort with heights. I hear her laugh, the one she reserves for a time when the moment is shared only between the two of us. I love that laugh, drinking in the sound in like cold water on a hot Texas afternoon.
The car climbs into the air and stops at the top. Before us, we look out across a sea of lights. The world is small before us, below us, around us. The car gently rocks in the wind. I am nervous again, only know because I know I’m out of my comfort zone. I put my arm around her, not for show, but because I need to.
Suddenly it is 1980 something. We’ve stopped at a roadside carnival that sprung up unannounced alongside the highway. It is dark and we are tired. We pull over for a break.
Soon we are on top of an old Ferris wheel. She knowingly rocks the car. Her laugh dances around us. The smile is knowing, playful, but I trust it all the same.
I put my arm around her, pulling her to my side. The moment becomes magical – one where you realize it is okay to let someone else in, to share your deepest fears, your grandest dreams. And then it happens – my life is changed forever. We plunge more deeply into love.
I hope she’ll continue to say yes.