Personal Narrative - Facing the Venom

November 16, 2009
By Gracie Larson BRONZE, Cottage Grove, Minnesota
Gracie Larson BRONZE, Cottage Grove, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Immediately, my entire body tensed up. I tried not to breathe, tried not to think about what this monster had in store for us. This is me, a typical teenager experiencing one of the most thrilling events in her life. Imagine sitting down and flying at a speed of about sixty miles per hour with only a seat belt, a shoulder harness, and the open sky grasping for your feet. If you haven’t guessed, I am on a roller coaster and this attraction is certainly on the ‘must do’ list. In other words, it is one of the tallest, fastest, and most spine-tingling rides in the amusement park.

That morning, I clicked off the clock before the alarm even had a chance to ring twice. I hadn’t slept that night, I couldn’t, I was too excited. Today was the day… finally. Almost the whole school had earned the annual field trip to Valley Fair. Spending time with your friends, screaming your lungs out on the rides, and eating yummy foods high in sugar and fat… what could go wrong?

When we arrived at the park, everyone was energized. We acted like first graders full of cake, ice-cream, and Mountain Dew. I was with a group of about six of my best friends. We gossiped, giggled, and made sure to wink at a couple of the attractive boys who happened to be waiting in the same lines as us.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, not too cold and not too hot. I could feel the toasty, warm sun rays on my face, the slight breeze tugging at my hair, and I smiled. This was, without a doubt, the best day for going on rides.

At the moment we were scanning the area, pondering what ride looked most inviting. I saw blobs of color splattered everywhere I looked. Clusters of roller coasters rushed by. A young boy was screeching; having a tantrum because he had dropped his corn dog. This was unquestionable a chaotic place.

“Hmmm… I say Steel Venom is calling our name,” someone suggested. My eyes trailed over to the massive metal object sticking up what seemed like endlessly into the air. I felt a small twist in my stomach. I could handle most rides, but this one was different. It resembled the shape of a giant ‘U’ and I had been avoiding it all day.

“I don’t know guys; look at how crowded the line is. Maybe we could just come back later. Plus, I have to go to the bathroom.” I was making every possible effort to lead them away from the idea.

“Come on, don’t be a party-pooper,” they complained, “the line moves fast anyways.” The peer pressure seemed like something in a nightmare, attacking me from all directions. I can’t let them know I’m scared; I will never live it down. My mind felt jumbled looking for the right words to get out of going through with this, but I drew a blank. My breathing grew heavier.

As we reached the entrance, I looked up at a sign that read ‘Steel Venom: Enter Here’. I followed along the winding path toward the group of people waiting in line excitedly. My legs carried me forward no matter how much I wanted to turn back. I felt the anxiety build up in my stomach. Over to my left was the roller coaster. I watched as people repeatedly shuffled on and off the ride. Some came off with a peculiar smile; their eyes wide open. Others came off with their jaws dropped. It made me feel uneasy. Each reaction was different, but they all portrayed fear and shock.

“I don’t know if, if I can do this,” I stammered out. But everyone was too caught up in some conversation to hear me. I reached for my friends hand and squeezed it tightly as we walked through the second gate. We crowded in and got into pairs. I felt tears forming in my eyes. My body started to shake. I wanted to look away, but my eyes were glued to the ride. I observed as the passengers put down their belongings, took off their shoes, and pulled themselves into the orange seats. Their legs dangled down in a way that troubled me. The staff continuously walked along the line checking seat belts and explaining the safety precautions. Then, in a blur, the ride bolted ahead and all that was left was an echoing of screams and cries. The loudness was unbearable; filling my head and haunting me. In one blink they were gone, thrusted straight out and up like some object in a catapult. Am I really going to do this?

Everything happened so quickly and before I knew it, it was our turn.

“Kelly, I can't!” I cried to my friend in a panic, but it was too late. I was already uncontrollably sliding myself into the seat, watching as the staff made their way toward me. My heart practically pounded out of my chest. I glanced over and looked at Kelly, but she was silently buckling up her seatbelt. I pulled the bright yellow shoulder harness down until it was snug. It was like it wanted to suffocate me and crush me into the seat. Immediately, my entire body tensed up. I tried not to breathe, tried not to think about what this monster had in store for us. Someone pulled slightly on my harness to make sure it was secure. My tears increased and flowed down my face. Only a few more seconds until the ride would start. I had never been so scared in my life. I gripped the handle until my fingers were numb and felt goose bumps rise up on my arm. I shut my eyes and waited. Abruptly, a robotic voice came on the intercom.

“Three… two… one…” We were flung forward in an instant. My body was forced into the seat and I felt a sinking feeling. An overpowering squeal burst out of me as I felt the pressure of the wind slap my face. Get me off now. I’m honestly dying. I couldn’t even comprehend what was happening. We glided up at a ninety degree angle and paused. I peaked open one eye. All I saw was the feet of the passengers in front of me and the cloudless, blue sky.

“Grace, shut up!” Kelly told me with a laugh. I was oblivious to the fact that I had not stopped screaming. Suddenly, we started to free fall, shooting backwards and gaining more speed. I caught a glimpse of the gate and everyone waiting for their turn flash by. We went straight up again and paused. I was hanging like a spider crawling down on its web. This time, I saw something different. Instead of sky occupying my view, I saw the ground more than one hundred feet below me. The people looked miniature, scurrying around everywhere. We repeated this twice more before the ride jerked to a stop. I felt like I was in a daze. Taking a deep breath I smiled. I did it; I’m alive.

Going on that roller coaster taught me something about life. I learned how important it is to face your fears; that nobody should let anything get in the way of experiencing new things. Today, I look back on that day and laugh. Whenever I go to Valley Fair, Steel Venom is the first ride I go on. Although I still get a little scared, I love it. It holds a memory that I will forget and makes me happy to know that I didn’t turn away from the monster standing in my way.

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