Sylvie(4)

By: K. Langston


Linc’s firm voice conveys what I already knew. One way or another, I’m getting on this stupid thing. My heart races furiously in my chest as he hands the carnie our tickets.

He can be so freaking annoying sometimes.

In the three years we’ve been friends, he’s made me do a lot of things I didn’t want to do. He loves pushing me outside of my comfort zone. Like the time he talked me into riding on the back of his dirt bike even though they scared me to death. Or the time he made me go swimming in a pond even though he knew how much I hated not being able to see the bottom.

He knows my deep fear of heights. I can’t even ride an elevator to the third floor of our doctor’s office without hyperventilating.

But Linc has a way of talking me into just about anything. He brings adventure and fun to my simple world, and just like the scribbled words on the sheet of wide rule paper had promised, Linc and I had undoubtedly become friends.

Friends forever.

I trust him. Tell him things I don’t dare tell anyone else, not even Rachel.

But I’m not so sure about this.

As the controller closes the cage, locking us in, I begin to panic. My vision blurs as we move upward, only to stop a few feet above the ground so he can lock some other poor soul into the cage behind us.

“Relax, Syl.” The endearment rolls off his lips like a balm, soothing me instantly.

But then the damn thing starts moving again.

I hold my breath as he continues to talk, offering encouragement as we steadily climb. I try to listen to his voice, get lost in the gentle tone, but the further we climb, the more frightened I become. I close my eyes, refusing to look down or anywhere for that matter.

His hand squeezes mine.

He hasn’t let go of it since he told me we were doing this.

“Just breathe. You’re doin’ great.”

“I wanna get off, Linc. Please,” I whisper, my body trembling with fear. My belly dips as the Ferris wheel begins to fully rotate.

“Look at me.”

I shake my head. There’s no way I can open my eyes. If I do, I will hurl for sure.

“Sylvie, look at me,” he demands.

His fingers find my chin as he turns my face toward his. I keep my eyes mashed tight, terror crippling my mind and making me nauseous. All I can think about is falling or being flung off this thing and hurdling toward imminent death.

But then I hear his voice again, penetrating the haze of my anxiety and fear. It starts out low and builds. I have no choice but to pry my eyes open.

It’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.

Linc’s voice began to change earlier in the year. It’s always been deep with a unique rasp to it, but as more time passed, the inevitable awkwardness that came with puberty had started to wane. Now, his voice sounds more solid and deeper than I’ve ever heard before. The words coming from his mouth are all too familiar. I recognize them instantly.

One of my favorite songs.

This is the first time I’ve ever heard Linc sing. I know he loves to play guitar with his dad, and has even played for me a couple of times. He’s really good, especially for a beginner, but I had no idea he could sing, too.

Now here he is, singing to me, and it not only calms my uncertainty and makes me forget how high up we are but it also has me completely captivated.

“I didn’t know you could sing,” I say, in awe of him.

His voice is truly beautiful.

He shrugs, his cheeks flaming red. “Whoa… Linc Matthews, are you blushing?”

“I’ve never sang to anyone before,” he admits, and a surge of pride swells in my chest, grateful that I’m the first person he’s shared his talent with.

“You’re really good.”

“Nah.”

“No, I mean it.” I sigh. “You’re amazing.”

“Thanks. Worked, didn’t it?” He nods over my shoulder, and for the first time, I feel brave enough to look.

We’re stopped at the top again. I can see the entire county fair below. We are at least a hundred feet in the air, but there is no more fear. No more anxiety. He’s taken it all away with nothing more than his hand wrapped around mine and the sound of his extraordinary voice.

He presses his lips against my forehead. Something he started doing more often lately. Part of me wonders if he means more by it, but the other part knows crossing that line could ruin our friendship, and I would never be willing to take that risk.