The Ferris Wheel beckoned. The women walked toward it. For Noelle, it was an exercise in overcoming fear. So much of it from so many uncontrollables in her life. Timmie had turned an imaginary therapy program into an irrevocable challenge for her friend. She considered feeling a smidge of guilt but decided to flick it away along with the fly flying in front of her face. Neither guilt or a fly would lend itself to improving the mood.

“Is this really necessary?” Noelle could feel her heart trying to break loose from the impending doom of the Ferris Wheel.

Timmie slowed briefly. “Yes, and it’s free.”

Noelle’s bestie had many talents. Rarely did she keep any to herself for her own personal gain. Usually, Noelle enjoyed the gift of saving money. In this instance, she wondered how she could make The Guy regret his choice of friends.

The Guy ushered the women along, and Timmie nudged Noelle to hop on first. “We have plenty of room plus fresh air, Noelle. You’ll be fine.” Even when Noelle held a grudge, she was always loved by Timmie.

“So, what’s first? What do we do? How do we get off this thing? When do I shake it off like Taylor Swift?” Noelle also had talents, including turning anything into a game of 50 Questions.

“Look at me, Noelle. Focus on my voice. Do not look around. Tell me everything good about Sam Razney.”

This is so not a real therapy. Noelle felt the air leaving.

“Hey. Look at me,” Timmie snapped. “Everything, Noelle. Spill. Tell me everything good about Sam.”

The Ferris Wheel rotated.

Noelle found a spot for her eyes, strong-armed the seat and worked on breathing.

Deep breath in.
Slowly exhale.
Deep breath in.
Careful exhale.

“Noelle, tell me … .”

“OK! Just … !” I’m fine. I’m fine. “He smelled good. Nice cologne. Not too strong, but you could smell it.”

“Good,” Timmie encouraged her on. “Use your senses.”

“His voice was tender. He was a good communicator. He didn’t walk around sullen.”

“Keep going.”

Deep breath.

“He took care of himself. He cared for his family. He was responsible with this money. He liked to plan for future goals. He was smart, and he worked at learning … .”

The Ferris Wheel continued turning, moving.

“… He was appreciative. He always said, ‘Thank you.’ Oh, and he had manners. Like, he was nice to wait staff and pleasant when we met someone in our path. He was kind to so many people.”

As the list grew, Timmie wondered if she misread the relationship. Maybe Sam was a good guy? Maybe he did break Noelle’s heart?

“Timmie? How many times do we have to ride this thing? Are you sure it’s free?”

“It’s free. We’ll ride until you’re done. What else made Sam a Mr. Wonderful?”

Silence. It wasn’t the first time that day Noelle stopped talking. This time, though, felt flat. Exhaustive, maybe. An anxious thought ran through Timmie’s heart: Was she playing with fire? Did she forget this was all make-believe? Timmie was no doctor.

“He used to be funny. And he used to be confident in who he was. He’d surprise people with his goofiness. Not immaturity. His playfulness or good nature. I thought He loved God.”

Noelle’s confession startled Timmie and shook her attention back to her friend. Their eyes met. That’s where the tears had been hiding.

“He betrayed me, Timmie. Or, …”

Timmie was hurrying to regroup. When did she become the best friend without a clue?

“Or, he played me separately, outside of real life. I guess I was the picture to show.”

Noelle expected a word response, but Timmie sat.

“His boss liked us. Sam enjoyed the benefits that came from being part of a couple his boss favored. He played the part well. He spoke the words. He did the things. And he cheated on me. He played me for a fool.”

“But when he wasn’t with you.”

“He didn’t care to uphold the charade. It was more than seeing another woman. He was living life with someone else. I was a prop, I guess, his beck and call. Whatever he needed, whenever. Sometimes, even with me I could tell something changed. He grew sloppy.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Timmie tried to not make it about her, but her thoughts were everywhere. “How did I not notice?”

“Life. You’ve been gone, working on your aunt’s affairs. Things. Your aunt’s things.”

Timmie nodded her head in agreement, but her conscience disagreed. She had been gone much of the time lately, but it wasn’t to assist her aunt with doldrum necessities, like paperwork or other such black-and-whites. Not really anyway.

“Can we go home, Timmie? I’m over Day 1.”

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