I Could Go — Oberhofer

Right at the summit, at the top of the world, you can see for miles. Literally miles. I wonder if I can see my house but it’s nighttime so I can’t. I swing my legs and watch as my feet poke out from my ripped jeans like blue tongues, laces fluttering in the breeze. I bet Smurfette has a blue tongue. My knuckles are white, my fingers are gripping the metal bar too tightly so I unclench and flakes of blue paint are dotted on my palms like fat freckles. I get one of those urges to throw my phone as far as the bar will let my arms allow it, but I don’t. It feels like it’s underwater but the sound of the fair beneath me is straining to be heard, the smell of salty meats and buttery popcorn is tickling my senses, but I don’t care, all I can think about is how close I am to the sky and how fucking cool this is so I reach up to pull the clouds down around my shoulders like a wet blanket but the wheel splutters and lurches onward and when I open my fists I’ve grabbed nothing but air. I feel foolish. I am descending now, returning to the sounds and the smells and the crowd and I don’t want to go and inside I’m crying and rasping and I wish I could pull the emergency handle like on a train, only this isn’t a train and I don’t want to risk the fine. I position my feet over the queue below me and as the car swings down it looks like I’m stamping on them. We pause as the greasy haired operator lifts the bar of a swinging carriage that has an old couple in it, they struggle to lift themselves out of the seats and he takes a drag on his cigarette. The wheel croaks back into life and I realise there’s no-one else between me and the old couple so I swallow all of the joy and the pain and brace my feet for the metal panel rising to meet them. The bar springs up and I hoist myself out of the seat, the ground feels treacherous and my legs are made of marshmallows. My friends are still where I left them behind the hot dog stand taking furtive sips of warm beer and smoking Marlboro Reds. They think I was in the bathroom, I daren’t tell them I was alive.

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