Monday 9th February 2009

by Tina


I met Amanda right there at the park, a few years ago, a little after our final exams for our first semester. It was a spontaneous trip planned by a classmate in one class, and I just got dragged into it, supposedly together with my friend Vince who backed out in the last minute. But because I have offered my car as a ride, I didn’t have it in my heart to sit out of the trip. So I ended up with two unknown girls who sat in my backseat, making me feel like some kind of driver.

It wasn’t until we got inside the park until I got to know their names. I got in first and was waiting for everyone to finish taking photos with the wizard and to get their tickets. I wasn’t really impatient with them, although I kind of wished that the people I knew who rode the other car would get in so I can finally start having someone to talk to.

Then one of the girls who rode in my car came in and stood beside me, looking the other way, inside the park.

“You know when I was a kid, I thought the Ferris Wheel was spelled as ‘Fairy’s Wheel.’”

I glanced at her, and her eyes gazing thoughtfully towards the Wheel of Fate, the park’s Ferris Wheel. I wasn’t sure if she was really talking to me so I didn’t say a word.

“You know, as in fairies? With wings and magic and all.” She glanced at me and smiled a bit shyly.


“Yeah,” Her eyes brightened when she heard me talk, like it was the greatest thing in the world.

“And then when I finally got to ride it, I found out there were no fairies, and I was so disappointed, I cried,” she finished with laugh. Her laugh was the next thing that struck me about her right after that first story. It was full and loud, a solid “Ha ha ha,” bordering on the sound of a hysterical laugh. It was the kind that makes you turn around to look at who owns it, the kind that makes you want to hear it again, so you tell all kinds of jokes to hear that laugh again.

“By the way, I’m Amanda.” She turned to me and extended a hand.

“Chase,” I replied, reaching for the extended hand. Amanda shook it and then laughed again. I looked at her curiously.

“I’m sorry if we didn’t talk to you in the car earlier,” Amanda said, letting go of my hand.

I shrugged, but smiled, to show her that she didn’t really have to explain. “Don’t worry, it’s okay,” I said. “I kind of liked the semi-silence.”

Still Amanda felt that she had to explain because she continued speaking. “It was just that –”

Before she could continue, though, her companion in the car joined us and spoke directly to Amanda, without giving me a glance. “Sorry it took me so long, they ran out of change.” The new girl let out a grumpy sigh, to which Amanda just laughed at.

“Don’t get grumpy all about it, Ols,” Amanda said, squeezing the new girl’s shoulder. “At least you’re inside now. By the way, this is Chase. We rode in his car earlier. Chase, this is Olive, my best friend.”

Olive looked at me and I was slightly taken aback when I met her eyes. She looked Filipina enough — kind of on the short side with straight black hair, slightly tanned skin and a small nose — but her eyes made me stop and wonder if she was from here or possibly a foreigner. Her eyes were green; not the light emerald green that can be seen in Caucasians, but dark fern green, the kind of green that you have to see close up or under a bright light to really notice. I found myself looking closer, trying to decipher if they were contacts, but I couldn’t see the line where the contacts overlap the iris, so it must be natural.

I completely forgot that I was looking into the eyes of another person until those eyes blinked, and I was brought back to the world. Olive was looking at me, not so much grumpy anymore, but kind of curiously, and I felt my face heat up from embarrassment.

Fortunately, she talked. “Hi Chase,” she said, face breaking into a smile. Her eyes sparkled, lighting up her entire face

“Hi, Olive,” I said, smiling back.

* * *

I think Amanda and Olive felt guilty for not talking to me in the car, because they stuck to me like glue almost the entire day.  Well, Olive mostly did. Amanda was more of the social butterfly, flitting from us to the others whenever we weren’t together as one big group. Olive seemed a bit too shy with the others so she spent most of the afternoon with me.

And I liked Olive’s company. Most of the times she was calm, but when the rides came she became excitable. She didn’t like riding the Space Shuttle, but she liked Anchor’s Away and all the water rides. She’d scream so loud when she’d get wet, and then laugh immediately right after. Olive’s laughter was a little more ladylike than her friend, sometimes sounding almost forced, but her eyes would twinkle every time she’d laugh so I knew it was real.

She seemed also kind of moody, which didn’t really bother me that much because I grew up with two sisters, so I knew how to deal with those moods. Amanda seemed to have memorized her moods too, and from the two mood swings I saw Olive in aside from the one when I met her (one was when there was this noisy kids behind us screaming profanities in Anchor’s Away and another when I tried to convince her to ride the Space Shuttle again), Amanda knew just what to say to make her smile again.

I liked it when Olive smiled.

[1005 words]

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