Ride for Life

December 4, 2008
It is a nice summer day; about 70 degrees with a little breeze. A group of 10 friends go to a theme park that late afternoon. In that group of friends is a guy friend with family problems and other problems in and out of school. The other friends try to surround that friend with positive thoughts. That friend accepts them and appreciates the support. But what this friend has is two sides and does well on hiding the dark side. The friends take two cars up to the theme park listening to music and playing “sweet or sour.” They would wave to other people in their cars and try to get them to wave back. All but one. The other friend, he sits in there listening to his own music looking out the window off in his own world. He had darkness. This darkness inside has changed him for good. The car brakes squeal to a stop in the parking lot. All of the friends hopped out of the car, while he slowly gets out with his head down. He turns off his music and walks with the group of friends to the ticket booths. They purchase their tickets and enter the theme park. They stroll around and find the lockers and pay for one to share. They put most of their belongings in the locker while the other friend waited with the key. They finished and he locked it up. He said he would hold on to it for the evening. They decide to ride everything in the park, except for the kiddy rides of course. There is one ride out of all of them that is the tallest and goes 75 mph. This roller coaster is named one of the tallest in the world. They road all of the rides and got something to eat around 5 p.m. They take a break from the rides and sit down to eat and talk. After an hour of conversation and dinner, they went on the rides again. They decide to ride the tallest roller coaster, but the one friend with problems wanted to sit in the back alone. This was so he could think to himself. The other friends accepted his wish and let him sit alone. They got in line and found a way for all of them to be in the same cart. They wait for 25 minutes. Then it is their turn to ride. They have two of the carts going at the ride to keep the wait down. All of the friends enter and buckle up. The two attendants who check to make sure the safety bar and seat belt were all locked and closed quickly went by. The one friend found a way to loosen the bar, but he did not do it until they got closer to the top of the first drop. While he did this a malfunction occurred and the ride halted abruptly at the top of the first drop. Something very odd happened. The weather turned cold. There were rain clouds rolling in. Off in the distance the one friend saw a thunderhead and lightning. It was time he thought. Slowly he unbuckled his seat belt, and then got the bar unlocked. He stood up and slowly got out of the car he was in. With his eyes squeezed shut, he watched scenes in his mind like scraps of motion-picture film-he could not stop them. He saw himself stumbling suddenly sideways as he kept along the right side of the roller coaster track, facing his friends and saw his upper body arc backwards, arms flailing. He saw a dangling shoelace caught between the track and one of the wheels, saw a foot start to move, to be stopped with a jerk, and felt his balance leaving him. He saw himself falling with a rapid speed as his body free falls, with his eyes wide open, falling without a care and a soft sigh of relief.

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