That late summer day, we bet on coins and dropped them in the river without knowing the answers. The universe didn’t decide our fate anymore. We made our own luck.
Like when we sped around the carousel to claim the grey rabbit and the fat raven even though no one else stood in line. Every time we passed each other in the up-down, we contorted our faces in silly expressions and declared each other the victor.
Afterwards, you caught ice cream in your hands when my three precious scoops of mint chocolate fell off the cone. You ran away when I tried to get it back, ate it straight out of your hands as you laughed the most mischievous giggle. You had to wash your hands in the crumbling water fountain.
An older lady with a fancy, shiny cane offered us two free tickets to the Ferris wheel. I stuffed them in the breast pocket of my beat-up denim jacket to save for later, when the dying sun and waking city fought to win for first place in their daily beauty contest.
With the spare change we’d accumulated from many a coin hunt in the park, we bought two hot dogs from the grumpy vendor, who slowly counted the pieces to make sure we weren’t trying to swindle him. You drowned yours in mustard and tried to make me take a bite, but only managed to smear it all over my cheek. Instead, we tried to see who could eat their hot dog in the least amount of bites. I won, of course, and you don’t have any evidence to prove otherwise!
Making sure no security guards were around, we climbed on the railing beside the river and swung our legs. We sang our favorite songs together like the glittering water was the shine of a disco ball in the karaoke bar we frequented. Even though I sucked, I sang the harmony, and with every wrong note of mine, your crystal voice broke into the most joyous laugh.
We swung ourselves around lamp posts like we did the tetherball poles in elementary school. Around and around we went until my hot dog threatened vengeance and your hand began to burn.
Others in the park gave us disapproving looks, like we were scoundrels, less well-behaved than their little kids. As if twenty-somethings should know better. But we ignored them, their glares and muttered curses, and ran between the tree trunks, scooping up acorns and throwing them at one another to rub it in.
Eventually we fell to the grass, lungs heaving, trying to laugh through the stinging pain. You rolled into me, dandelions in hand, and stuck them in my hair. The way the sun shined through the leaves lit you up like an angel, but your grin gleamed even more brightly, like your whole body and soul beamed.
We lay beside each other toasting in the warmth, talking about this and that. At one point, you held up your hand and, counting, I pressed a finger to each of your tattoos.
I asked if you knew how much you meant to me. How happy you made me just by existing. Your shyness was so adorable, but I’m glad you didn’t try to deny it. Voice soft, as if I was napping and you were afraid to wake me, you told me you felt the same. That I inspired you to get better, go farther.
As the sun faded on our comfortable silence, we pulled each other up and sauntered over to the big wheel, alight with every shade of purple and blue. The operator stopped us at the top with a perfect view of the apple mango sky and dance of headlights and taillights.
Tomorrow wasn’t promised, or all the days after, but that summer day we were happy. Each other’s luck.