Tuesday 10th February 2009by Tina
– 3 –
Amanda loved amusement parks. From Star City to Disneyland, she never seemed to tire of going to any of them. She’d visit even the small peryas and go on their Octopus rides and the rickety Ferris Wheels no matter how dangerous they seemed to be.
But despite that, Enchanted Kingdom may just be one of Amanda’s favorite parks, even if we all know it pales in comparison from all the other parks in the world. She goes there at least twice every year with different people, and she never gets tired of any of the rides. I remember her telling us how bummed she was when she heard that the Condor closed down, and how she wished we had the chance to ride the Enterprise. Amanda knew all of the Rialto shows – from Aliens to White Lightning to Lego Racers. She even liked the kiddie rides, no matter how corny they were.
When news came that Amanda was going back, a trip to Enchanted Kingdom was just proper. So there we were in the park with the usual gang back in college, a trip organized by none other than her best friend, Olive.
That very fact makes me wonder how I ended up in this trip. Given our history, I didn’t think I’d get invited to this. But I did. Was it only because I’m an easy source of transportation? Did Olive think of inviting me or did Amanda?
* * *
The only free seat in the Flying Fiesta was a two-seater. Amanda sat in one of the outer swings, where there was “maximum swing experience” once the ride starts, and everyone else had occupied their seats. The only people left standing were me and Olive.
We stood a few feet apart from each other with the seat between us. I looked at her, she was gazing at the seat. She looked up and met my eyes and for a moment, her green eyes surprised me again. It has been a while since I last looked at them.
“Excuse me sir, please take your seat. Ma’am?” The ride attendant approached us and pointed at the seat. I looked around and everyone else was busy chattering while the voice recording of the ride continued to emphasize the Do not part of his speech.
I stepped towards the seat just as Olive did. I looked up and found myself looking at her green eyes again, expression unreadable. I spoke. “Look, I can just wait there…”
“No, it’s okay,” she said softly, still avoiding my eyes.
“Come on guys, ride up!” My old friend Vince, called from his seat. I looked up and spotted Amanda, who was watching us. She wasn’t smiling, but she wasn’t frowning either — in fact, she carried the same expression as her best friend. Amanda nodded at me slightly.
“Okay,” I finally said to Olive. I raised the bar up for her to go in first, and she slipped in the seat, shifting a bit to get comfortable. I slipped beside her and pulled on the safety bar so it was secure a few inches off our laps.
I heard snatches of conversations here and there, and then the internal machinery of the ride starting up. Pretty soon, our feet were no longer on the ground and the center of the ride started to turn.
I looked away as we started to go higher and higher. I could hear everyone screaming and yelling and laughing. I can hear Amanda’s boisterous laugh from where we sat, the laugh that I heard when I first met her. Olive was silent, however. She didn’t even look at me — her faced was focused straight ahead.
I was used to this silence between us — it has been a while since we last talked. But as we swung higher and as the wind whipped through our hair, I heard something that I haven’t heard in a while.
I turned to her again and saw her eyes were wide open, and she was smiling from ear to ear. The wind blew her hair back, and her arms were stretched out in front of her, like a little kid trying to stretch out and reach something.
Most of all, she was laughing. Olive was actually laughing.
* * *
As much as I liked seeing Olive smile, I liked hearing her laugh more. Olive always seemed to be too quiet as compared to Amanda. In the first few days that I got to hang out with the two of them after that day at Enchanted Kingdom, I saw the differences between the two girls. Amanda was bouncy, talkative, always a bundle of energy. She has a ton of friends, and she always seems to be greeting someone whenever we hang out together at school.
Olive, on the other hand, was a mystery. She was always with Amanda, so Amanda often overshadows her. She was quiet. She was prim and proper. She was the complete and total opposite of Amanda, and she mystified me. I liked it. I liked her.
Pretty soon, Olive and I were dating. Of course to get to know who she is and what she wants, I also got to know Amanda a lot more. It was a package, you see. Amanda and Olive, Olive and Amanda. I didn’t mind, really. I liked Amanda as a good friend, and she helped me understand how to get to Olive’s soft side.
But that was all how I saw Amanda. A good friend.
* * *
The ride was over and we were back on the ground. I lifted the safety bar up and Olive stood up, nodding at me slightly but not saying a word. Her laughter had died down as soon as we started going down, and pretty soon she was silent again. She brushed herself off and walked away, leaving me to get out of the swing alone.
As I walked to the ride exit, I felt a hand grip my arm. I looked back and saw Amanda standing behind me, a small smile on her face.
“Thanks,” she said softly.
I didn’t know what to say. I just looked at her, trying to see deep in her eyes, to find something I’ve been wanting to know for a long time. Amanda looked back at me, eyes still unreadable but still with that smile, her hand still on my arm.
We stood there for a while, until I heard someone call us. I looked up and saw Olive looking at us questioningly. Amanda let go of my arm and jogged towards her best friend, looping her arm through Olive’s and started chattering away, about how fun the ride was and where we would be off to next.
They turned their backs on me and started to walk away.