I. Pleasing Ambiances
“What you attract, you feel.” –Buddha.
“The sunset is so relaxing,” I said, “and look at those waves in the distance. Look how they break.”
“Yeah, it’s so pretty,” she responded. She wore a slight grin on her face, and her eyebrows fixed upwardly. I knew by her expression she was listening to me, and she was interested in what I had to say.
“Oh my gosh, Kade!”
“What?” I asked.
“Those waterslides,” she said.
I turned around and studied my surroundings. Immediately, my attention was captured by these structures of amusement. Towering in the sky, stood two mossy-colored waterslides, spilling their contents into a swimming pool at the Margaritaville in Puerto Plata. The structures crisscrossed a million times and sloped down to the pool, all kaleidoscopic and whimsical-like. The intricacy of it satisfied me at that moment. I looked over at Autumn—the girl mentioned earlier in this scene.
I studied her face. Her brunette hair fell upon her tan skin and streamed down to her jet-black bathing suit top. Her big, brown eyes comforted everything in her presence. Like chocolate, she filled my soul with these pleasing ambiances—these slow and pulsating vibrations, setting my mind at ease. Without a doubt, she was a shot of chamomile into the veins.
Surrounding this Margaritaville, outside of vacationer’s palace and his commercially-placated reality, the backdrop of this beachy, tropical island stood plainly visible. Out to the sea, I saw dozens and dozens of ships sailing against the wind. I saw birds, flapping their white wings comfortably and landing on the sandy beaches in search of food. I saw the Carnival, a massive entity that invaded the ocean waves, and I glared at the passengers going on and off the ship. On the fourth day of the cruise, they started to look like mellowed-out people, instead of frazzled members of the grown-up world.
We walked up the rocky pathway in our bare feet. Our toes prickled against the gravel, but we pressed on because the sun was beating at our backs, and we were sick of sleeping in the cruise ship—all pent up in a shoe-box room, juddering like sea-sick dreams the last four days. This was the collecting of myself that needed to happen, or else I probably would have lost my mind to the pitfalls of academia.
Finally, we made our way to where the dreamy waterslides began their course to the swimming pool.
II: Slip into the Unknown
“The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate.”
You think you know what you’re getting into. You’ve been on a million waterslides before in your youth. This experience in your eyes should be like all the experiences you’ve associated with water parks and swimming pools growing up.
But something about this setting feels different. Something feels unnatural, but it doesn’t turn you away from it entirely. This newfound sense of nature creates a sense of mystique in your body, but you think you like it. To tell the wholehearted truth, in your mind you know you like it.
You wait in line behind a young girl and a slightly-older boy. An abundance of joy, these kids are bouncing up and down, and shaking in excitement for the waterslide ride. The lifeguard, looking mundane as ever, finally gives the signal for the kids to race into the unknown. Then, it’s your turn.
You lock eyes with Autumn. In your mouth, you can taste the sweet-embrace of rum punch. You kind of wish you were a drunken pirate with an eye-patch, sailing in the Caribbean, drinking your rum and sitting on your pirate riches with your Autumn. But you realize that you’re not a pirate and you never will be, but there’s a voice of reason within you who seems completely content with that.
All the sudden, you get the thumbs up from the lifeguard. As you prepare to take off, just an eighteen-year-old kid going down a waterslide in la Republicana Dominicana, you catch a glimpse of Autumn before diving into the pitch-black tunnel built for amusement. Just the sight of her fills you with that same pleasing ambiance you felt earlier. You step into the unknown, unconsciously weaving against a familiar path.
“Turns from here to there, jolted along to be united in twinning, in outrageous pairings.”
The step into the unknown is a strange one. As a child, Kade didn’t enjoy going down waterslides, because in his experience waterslide rides were dull. As a matter of fact, Kade was brought up to believe that simple acts of amusement were inherently not-fun, and it’s a behavior that was passed down upon him by his father. His father had an unconventional idea of what was to be entertained.
Autumn, on the other hand, basked in the enjoyments of life. She loved the sudden thrill of roller-coasters and the general rush of fun that most people seemed to possess. This view of entertainment remained apparent in her family life and upbringing. She was raised to enjoy these things.
Kade envied this about her. He wished he could share this outlook on the world. That is why, when he descended into the depths of darkness, he held this repressed fear within his bones.
It is to be noted, that Autumn had fears of her own prior to her waterslide trip. She feared death in its entirety, so when she went into the dark tunnel of the slide, feelings of anxiety thumped through her veins.
For both Kade and Autumn, these feelings became manifested in the ride—the pathway into darkness. They both stumbled into the darkness with sun-kissed skin and alcohol-induced grins, but deep inside themselves, they felt these anxieties coming to fruition.
“That was amazing, Autumn,” said Kade, “I totally saw the light and stepped out of my comfort zone.”
“I know, it was fun,” said Autumn. She wore a slight grin on her face, and her eyebrows fixed upwardly. Kade knew by her expression she was listening to him, and she was interested in what he had to say.