The fair always came to town in the summertime and you made us take you even though we never wanted to go. It turned into a weekly thing- we went every Sunday. You persisted at the beginning of each summer to go everyday, but the admission was $5, and we just didn’t have that kind of money at the time. Especially just to go and stand at the bottom of the Ferris wheel and watch you go around and around. That’s all you wanted to do- you weren’t interested in the other rides or games and you never deviated from the straight line you took to get on one of those buggies. It looked like you were going to a business convention- you would wear your finest clothes and bring a wooden brief case. You seemed oblivious to the stares, or maybe you just didn’t care. We couldn’t quite figure it out, just as we couldn’t figure out this entire routine, this desire you had to ride the Ferris wheel. It was the least popular ride at the fair, most times you were the only one who rode it. We didn’t even mind your requests to ride it alone because we grew so tired of it; all it did was take you up, and then bring you down, only to take you back up again. No building in town was higher than three floors, which made the wheel the highest overlook for miles. But there wasn’t much to look at outside of the city was just flat desert. “It’s the best place to go bird watching!” you defended with tears on the brims of your eyes. Well, we didn’t know what you meant because our town was not known for birds of any kind- maybe an occasional vulture to pick apart a carcass, but nothing worth bird watching. Regardless, it was what you wanted to do, and you lived to ride this Ferris wheel. We would see you peak over the edge of the car with your binoculars, looking for birds we presumed, although we never saw a single one. You also kept a notebook, pen, and an informative guide to the birds of the world in your briefcase. The guide included black and white pictures and facts about bird habitats, nests, temperaments, and flying patterns. The carnie who controlled the machine was just as confused as we were and he told you that you’d been around so many times it was making him dizzy. You hated that carnie but you never said it. You just clenched your fists and avoided his eye whenever he kicked you off- then you would mutter on the way home, “that’s not how a fair should work…”
When the last day of summer came, you stood outside the admission gates and watched the men disassemble the wheel. You even begged the man in the admissions booth to let you ride it one more time. When you were denied, you told him that it wasn’t fair, to which he replied, “Life isn’t fair, and then you die.” But through the thick glass between you and him, you had heard, “Life’s a fair, and then you fly.” It became your life motto and none of us had the heart to tell that you heard the man wrong.