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The blistering, 2009 sun bit at my shoulders, annoying and yet still soothing… summer wasn’t over. The day was growing old- the sun had already fallen behind the trees… now or never. I turned to face my father, his jet black hair was starting to gray- a mischievous smile lit up his face. “Are you ready, Sloan?” he asked.
My chocolate brown eyes peeked up at the roller coaster, towering high over the nearby trees. I nodded, worried my voice would give away the slight pang of fear I felt. My attitude completely clashed with the attitude of my surroundings: buoyant laughter surrounded me; everyone wearing a smile on their face, the smell of elephant ears filled the air. We were in Holiday World, the very first theme park in the United States.
My sister, Katie, followed my gaze; by the look of her expression, a light bulb went off in her head. “Can I go too?” she asked, eagerness creeping into her tone.
My dark hair blew into my face, my hand absentmindedly pulled the strand behind my ear; I replied before my dad could have supplied the answer to her question: “Sorry chick. This one might be too much for you.”
She backfired, “Why not? It’s only like, well, not extremely big.” The statement sounded like a question.
“If not extremely big is one hundred stories, you’re correct.”
My mother shot me a disapproving look and Dad jumped in, “Ok, Kate, your sister is right. But after we,” he gestured to himself and I, “take a little test run…maybe you can come along next time. Capesh?”
“Fine,” Katie said, though I could tell by the firm set of her mouth she was not pleased.
I kissed my mom lightly on the cheek, winked at my sisters- who had moved on to the next ride; my dad and I headed in the direction of the towering roller coaster.
The entrance to the ride was made to appear similar to a barn with “The Voyage” logo printed on the side. Dad and I bounded up the stairs to go inside, but soon found ourselves in the back of a long line. There was a red-headed lady in line in front of us and she was intently, and loudly, talking to a man about the roller coaster.
“The biggest one in the world!” I heard her say. “Well, wooden anyway.”
Surprisingly, the line moved quickly. Too soon, I was able to see the loading station… and the drop, the one hundred foot drop about twenty yards into the ride. There was no little hill to prepare you, nothing to warn you. My stomach churned uncomfortably; only my dad’s reassuring hand on my back kept me from breezing away, and leaving him to ride the roller coaster alone.
“Next!” shouted the guide, crossly. “You two! Yes, you!”
“He’s talking to us,” I thought.
I let my dad go ahead of me and climb into the car, I followed hesitantly afterward.
As the other guides came around to check our harnesses, I found my dad checking them as well. He remarked, pleased, “Maybe Kate could ride this- there is a bar and the belt. A lot of protection.”
“May-.“ The coaster car took off before I could finish. I quickly closed my mouth, remembering what Katie had told me about the ride going fast enough you couldn't shut your mouth once the ride had started. As we neared the drop, I felt my heart beat accelerate. Our red and white buggy started to climb the steep hill; from the top I could see everything: trees, rides, ice-cream stands, I could even faintly hear the surprised and happy screams of children below- WOOSH!! The Voyage flew down the hill with astounding speed.
My arms ascended into the air as I started to feel comfortable aboard the bumpy, wooden tracks. I screamed, excited. I liked the Voyage!
We entered a nearby forest, sideways the entire time. Well, sideways or off the tracks, as my dad would eventually describe the ride as. The forest was followed by two more steep drops and we, too soon, coasted back into the stationhouse; the smell of ice-cream was, once again, evident.
My dad looked at me and his eyes were ablaze with inferno. “That was wicked.”
I smiled, content, “Wicked.”