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Over Walt's Dream
My eyes follow the up, left, down, bottom, top of the snake. Climbing through the high, high hills; falling like butter.
“Come on.” I say to her. Shay looks where the screams had been moments before, then to her mom.
“You sure you don’t want me to stay with you?”
“Go, go, go have fun. I will be fine.” Last hope gone, I pull her like a guide dog pulls the blind, skidding through the hungry metal stalls.
“Look, no lines.” I say. She wobbles her head a little and stares and stares at I don’t know what. Maybe something that’s not even there.
Kent squeezes his daughter’s shoulder and in a voice as sweet as cinnamon buns says, “Sweety..? There’s nothing to worry about.” He says it like a question.
“But dad! Last time it stopped and those people were stuck at the very top and they had to climb down!”
“That is why it won’t happen this time. They’ll have been extra careful and made it even more safe.”
“Yeah.” I say, because that’s all I can.
Our hands hug each other tighter and now we’ve caught up to the few people in front of us. Her face is scared. My fear is more concealed.
Take a step, 1 2 3 then back another. See the pits of dandelion fluff. See, see, see them watch the pools of shimmery brown. And that’s all as we’re pulled closer to the waiting snakes and to our deaths. Because that’s where we are headed, and she and I know it.
“I love you Shay.”
“Luv you babe.”
We cling to each other like flies on a shower wall. “How many in your group?” Three fingers. A smile and we’re herded past people who have no faces. Just me and Shay. Waiting to die in stall number six. Now the fear is sticky in my hair which must look black against my too white cheeks. “I can’t! I don’t want to! We need to go back!” But here comes the stretched out snake meant for us, hissing iron words down the tracks. Two sunken seats in every row.
Now I’m in, inside the hollow monster, still holding fast to the girl with the voice bigger than her hair. Then the black restraints that leave you searching for air come down and oh! We slither away. “Quick, quick! Glasses in here!” says Shay. In the Velcro pouch so they don’t go flying with the birds.
Stop, with 5000 feet in front of us. Deep crater to out right where all the water’s been drained because they had to fix the Ferris wheel. People behind the railing to our left, mourners at a funeral. Round, drum voice from no where. “Ready for take off in five, four, three, two, one.”
Holding hands, eyes saying goodbye. Then gripping tight to anything as we explode out of nothing. Going, going too suddenly and with the whole world slamming against our shoulders. No time to scream. Don’t know how to anyway. Up, up, under into there, on our side, on our belly, on our faces. Going so, so much we must be on fire, going directions that popped up out of a toaster into existence just for us. Swoop, dive. Eyes watering. Swerve, lurch. Body gone. No stomach to feel queasy. No skin to burn. Only our minds and eyes reeling in the wonder of it all.
We glide to the highest point of all and slow, slow, slow now. Carnival music is playing. The kind that I know from a lifetime ago but I forget the melody the moment it stops. I fold open my face all the way and wouldn’t you know there it all is. There is the Tower of Terror ride that Shay will never go on because of the ghosts and there is the off-color ginormous mini Golden Gate Bridge and there is the no man’s land out farther still with the big letters yelling CALIFORNIA ADVENTURES where we took pictures earlier, and there, there is the euphoric glow of chocolate cherry ice-cream and $7 turkey legs. There is Main Street looking like it was cut out of an old Disney cartoon and glued there for all to oooh and aaah at. And I wonder- Is it what he wanted it to be? Does it look like he imagined?
And I am just thinking I can see the neon lights of Small World and hear the almost scary dolls sing as I am above Walt’s dream but then that’s gone and it’s the back of someone else’s head blocking my vision as we take the vertical plunge and now we are both screaming. Then I feel funny and everything looks like in a Fun House mirror as we do the loop-de-loop inside Mickey’s head. More twists and turns making me feel like orange jell-o. Then whoops! Underneath another snake and snap flash flash it’s over. Out of the snake running to see our pictures, not bothering to fix our hair.