Story-A-Day May: Carried Away

I feel like this is actually part of a longer piece but it is its own story for now:

Shelby had always said that that a Irish man would be able to convince her to do anything. It must have been true because that was the only explanation as to why my height-phobic friend would be currently floating up off the ground in a hot air balloon that was only just getting to its cruising height.

She must have been terrified, maybe too terrified to text and definitely too terrified to say anything to the smooth guy with the lovely accent that we had met in the pub a few hours earlier. Sure, it seemed funny when he suggested that she go up in the balloon with him, after all, who actually has a hot air balloon? So she agreed to go after her next beer and she thought she was just playing along with the joke as they walked out through the door and down the street to reach the meadow down the street. It was no joke though because there, on the grass, was a hot air balloon. Multicoloured stripes, tiny basket, sandbags, everything. We hardly knew what to say about it.

Shelby had already said that she wanted to go for a ride in his balloon, I think she thought it was a metaphor when she said it but now it was way too late and she was actually going to have to go up in a balloon. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking that she could have backed out that she didn’t actually have to go, especially with someone she doesn’t actually know. That’s all true, in a literal sense, but it tells me that you have never actually gotten in over your head when talking to someone that you were interested in. And that makes you a hell of lot less interesting to me.

I want to know people who get in over their heads, people who lose their grip on the situation, people who go up in hot air balloons even though they are afraid of heights. Shelby looked down over the edge of the basket at me, looking like the poster girl for a change of heart. Her face was the colour of the milk at the bottom of a cereal bowl, white but slightly tinged with yellow. Her hands, clamped on to the basket rim were much the same colour, and the expression on her face suggested that she had been condemned.

I wanted to call out some comfort but I didn’t want to blow her cool-girl cover, so I just stood there, looking up and holding our purses and the souvenirs we bought that afternoon. I hoped the Irish guy turned out to be worth it.

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