So as it won’t fall

The spring I was turning eleven, my family made a ten-day trip to London, England. Since my father had work to attend, it was my mother and I who explored the city together during the day. With a paper street map in our hands, we visited popular tourist spots – the British Museum, Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, King’s Cross Station – and one day, we were walking on the South Bank of the Thames when we came across an enormous wheel towering over us.

“Mom, what’s that?”

“That must be the new Ferris wheel our friends have been talking about,” she said, looking up at the towering wheel. “Called London Eye or something. It’s apparently brand-new.”

I didn’t care how new it was, but I definitely wanted to try it. My mother hesitated for a second because of her fear of heights, then gave in to my enthusiasm. It was a brave decision on her part since she’d normally avoid height at any cost.

We bought our tickets and were introduced to several other tourists who were going to share the same capsule with us. I was surprised that so many people would share a single capsule, but it turned out the London Eye not only had a large wheel but also huge capsules.

The futuristic capsule was more spacious than my family’s living room back home. All sides were transparent windows, and at the centre was a large wooden bench. The passengers were allowed to move around freely inside the capsule throughout the half-an-hour ride.

The moment our capsule left the ground, all of us walked over to the edge impatient to check out the scenery. After a while, however, I realized that my mother was missing. I turned around to find her standing by the bench opposite from where everybody else was standing.

“Mom, why don’t you stand by the window?” I asked. “Don’t you want to see the view?”

“No thanks,” replied my mother with her feet firmly rooted to the floor. “I’m trying to keep the balance of this capsule. If everybody stands on that side, it might tilt and lose balance.”

I thought the capsule was firm and very stable, but my mother was determined. As the capsule slowly changed position, people moved along the windows following the view of the city centre across the river, and my mother moved around the bench keeping the opposite position from the rest of the crowd.

And so it continued – our half-an-hour ride on the London Eye, with most of the passengers clustered by the windows and my mother standing by the bench opposite from them.