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Lions Roar : May 2013
reaching the top of the tower. But while Luna was a little scared, Linda was petrified. As the closed metal box began to rise, she shut her eyes tight and held Luna close. When we got to the mid- dle floor of the tower and the elevator opened, Linda tumbled out, taking deep breaths of the fresh cool air. Soon she and her husband were lost in the crowd and we threaded our way to the guardrail, where we could look down from our great height at the city below. Paris in the last of the evening light. Brightly lit boats made their way down the Seine, and I could make out the gargoyles guarding the top of Notre Dame. At that moment, the yellow lights of the tower itself started flashing, and Luna and Plum’s gasps of amazement could be heard even over the clicks of the hundreds of cameras. I looked at the lengthy line still ahead of us, which snaked all along the platform toward the next ticket line and elevator that would take us to the top. We’d started our journey at the bottom over four hours ago. Now we’d run out of water and snacks and we were hot and grimy—our clothes were sticking to our skin. Though no one had voiced a single complaint, Plum’s eyelids were sagging and Luna was starting to list to one side. The kids were both sneezing regularly. “Anyone want to go home?” I asked hopefully. “No way,” they chorused without a second’s hesitation. My mom remained silent. She had the grim look in her eyes of a mountain climber who had nowhere to go but up. We got into the next line, settling into another hour wait. The middle floor of the tower wasn’t large, and we were corralled between two narrow metal railings that zigzagged back and forth, as if we were in line for a popular ride at an amusement park. We were also sandwiched in the middle of a large group of chain-smoking French teenagers who continuously jostled and bumped each other in the hopes of getting as much “acciden- tal” physical contact as possible. I sagged against the metal rail- ing and considered taking a nap on the dirty concrete floor. As I looked for an escape route or a place to lie down, I saw Linda and her husband walk past. Linda’s head was down, her gaze focused anywhere but out, and she stuck close to Jim, so that the whole side of his body shielded her view of the edge. Linda’s face was rosy and shiny with sweat and Jim’s broad shoulders slumped, but when we waved them over to say hello they told us that they too were determined to reach the top. “Join us,” I called, and it wasn’t just a polite gesture. Somehow over the course of our epic waiting, we’d started to need each other for moral support. But our new friends were stuck on the other side of the metal railing. To get to us, they would need to duck and swing under the hip-high metal bar. Somewhere behind us, a baby, up way past bedtime, started to wail. Jim bent The yellow lights of the tower started flashing, and Luna and Plum’s gasps of amazement could be heard even over the clicks of hundreds of cameras. SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2013 31