A Ride On The Magical Teeter-Totter

September 13, 2008
By Megan Webster, Hubbardston, MI

As the sun’s heat added a glistening sparkle to each of the six individuals around the teeter-totter., a dedicated onlooker would notice that the smiles and the outbursts of laughter was accompanied with an annoyed glare at the sky’s unmerciful firmness in soaking up any ounce of cool air that could normally be felt with each teeter back and forth. We weren’t who were supposed to be frolicking about on a playground. I can only imagine how ridiculous we looked, with four adult bodies squishing into tiny seats meant for children under the age of 10; a short man standing in the center with his hands perched on his hips, and a woman standing outside the group trying to capturing it with her camera phone.

To the onlooker it would look foolish, but to me, the person taking the picture, I saw something more. I saw these people, whose lives I knew very well, truly enjoying the moment they were in, without a negative thought or complaint about the things in their lives that leaves them unsatisfied on a daily basis. They were without a scowl and seemingly without a care or worry in the world.

If those same onlookers knew the amount of time we spent not laughing, perhaps they would be congratulating the group for finding a moment to appreciate the simple things in life. I believe we all sort of felt a bit foolish doing what we were doing, but with a world that demands us to grow older so much faster, it was nice to find time to enjoy something that brought such easy and catch-free satisfaction. It is something you only get to appreciate when you are very young, if you are lucky and don’t think to appreciate it until it is gone. Who could blame us for soaking it in without displaying an ounce of embarrassment?

The tall, slender, and sixteen-year-old, redhead sitting in the far left corner, who had a soon-to-be one-year-old baby, and was still adjusting to the fact that the baby’s father recently moved in with someone else, fell off the side into a fit of laughter as she lost her grip on the handles. The whole group stopped what they were doing to laugh with her and tell her how goofy she looked.

The fashionable, brunette to the right of her, who had been struggling with thoughts of committing suicide ever since her mother kicked her father out for his drug addiction when she was sixteen, stopped pushing off with her feet long enough to take a picture of herself with her phone making a not-so-attractive “funny face.”

The blonde to the right of her, sitting up tall and proud, who did not want to end up like her poor parents that mooch off their children’s hard-earned money, but didn’t really want to take the necessary steps to do what she must, instead clinging to what was left of her childhood, was laughing unashamedly at the entertaining story the man in the middle was telling.

The fourth person clinging to his seat was a tall, gangly, man, whose marijuana addiction led to being stuck yet another year in his parents’ house, working that boring job in the town he wanted so much to move away from, turned and waved at me with his toothy lopsided grin.

The flamboyant man in the middle, starving for attention and for all his dreams to come true, yet his shallow and cocky manner hidden behind that superficial endearing smile, he knew, was bound to leave him unsatisfied and alone, took advantage of his height to make every part of the conversation about him and laughed with his whole body at his own story, almost tumbling from his circular pedestal.

Finally, there was me, delaying taking the picture so long because I was caught up in returning the smiles of all my friends and mirroring the joyous expression on their faces, having lost my more common seriousness accompanied with throwing myself wholeheartedly into adulthood, with my own house, car, a live-in boyfriend, a 70 hour a week job, and planning to be a fulltime student in the fall. I forgot the responsibilities that were suffocating me in following in my mother’s shadows. I didn’t care in that moment if she had forgotten my failures or was proud of me, which I spent most of my time striving for.

My objective in sharing each individual’s and my own personal demons was not to gain sympathy from an audience, but to further explain why this teeter-totter was indeed magical. It is not every day that one forgets their problems for more than a few seconds before it creeps into their mind once again.

People spend years trying to find the root of all happiness, and I had found it. It was simply taking a ride on the magical teeter-totter.

I stood their smiling at what I felt was a very witty thought, and stared at the scene forgetting the reason why I was standing there in the first place, or why I was holding my phone up in the air. That was until the man in the middle’s voice brought me down from my insightful cloud.

“ Stop drooling over my pretty face, baby. We are all stars! Now take our picture,” he said with his biggest smile and his best over-exaggerated wink. With an inward chuckle I muttered, “ That, we are.”

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