If you were to ask me, “Ana, what are your thoughts on roller coasters and other types and forms of thrill seeking nonsense?”, I would probably respond with a “Oh yeah brother, I love me some thrill seeking nonsense”. Either that or a less energetic answer such as, “I’m chill with roller coasters”. So to put in other words, roller coasters and I have had a decent relationship. Not once have I had an unfortunate roller coaster experience. The fates are on my side on this and they have stuck.
Or so I thought.
It was there on an unfortunate saturday morning where my older sister. Emily, our friend, Grace, and I decided to take a quick road trip to an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio that was illustriously nicknamed the “Roller Coaster Capital Of The World”. The long hours of driving before our arrival of where thrill seekers of all around come to test their limits was filled with naive boasts and crows of just how far we could go before we ourselves hit our greatest extent. As we continually expressed our enthusiastic trepidation for the biggest, baddest rides that the amusement park showcased for the most adventurous sorts of people, I considered that maybe I picked the wrong people to do this with as they begun to talk as though they were willing to give up their very lives in order to have the biggest thrill. I contemplated in my mind that with all this talk of these extreme rides, perhaps, in hindsight, this place is for people with a death wish. I certainly didn’t want to die yet; I still want to achieve my dreams and goals in life. However, despite the fact that I had never visited this place for thrill seeking people and I had begun to feel the of fluttering butterflies in my stomach, my gut reassured me that I was doing the right thing. My mind reminded me that slow breathing and positive thinking was going to get me through the eventual tumultuous experience. But when the topic of the infamous roller coaster, “Millennium Force” came into play in the lively chat, I could feel my brain go fuzzy and out of order when my car mates began to amplify and inflate data about this renowned ride. I could feel the return of the butterflies in my gut and the sweat starting to form in my tightly clenched fistes. “This is it. I want to turn back” I soundlessly considered as we drove closer, and closer, and closer to my anticipated death.
Our arrival into the park and lengthy apprehensive hike towards the top destination in the park, I felt as though there were cinder blocks attached to my feet, dragging my feet along the pavement as I shuffled slowly to my evident doom. When we finally found the entrance towards the ride, I had to be practically dragged into the line. The more we waited and listened to the faint hysterical screams of excited and terrified passengers as they went down the largest hill of the ride, the more nauseated I felt. Every step closer to my ultimately death towards the docking center for the ride, I could nearly perceive the drop my stomach was going to feel when we hit the tip of the largest hill. As well as the prevailing issue of my catastrophic death I was about to face when I boarded the ride, I was struggling to try and keep up cool demeanor in front of my companions. How can I possibly act scared in front of them? Especially with all that over confident talk while we were in the car. “I can’t possibly act like a complete wuss when I get onto the ride.” I mentally expressed. I couldn’t possibly chicken out, as I sensed that if I did, I was going to be brutally roasted throughout the day. I was trapped; there was going to be no way out of this situation I grimly understood as I looked upon the set of stairs towards the deployment area. With a mental cringe and a low grunt, I struggled to put on my brave looking face as I trekked up the foreboding flight of stairs ahead of me at adagio pace. With every step of the set of stairs passed, and more and more of the dread setting into my stomach, I could feel a twitch starting to set in my cheek. Life was moving as though I was in slow motion, which was quite unfortunate because that was only going to increase my chances of throwing up. As I reached the last step and suddenly became next in line, I looked at my sister and my friend and gave them a small smile to try to act as though I wasn’t fearing for my life. I’m assuming the beads of sweat on my forehead, my sudden pale and greenish complexion on my face, and the twitch in my cheek wasn’t a clear indicator that I needed attention and support before I boarded the ride, because my devil of a sister gave me a mischievous regard and maliciously declared something I shall never forget her for the entirety of my life.
“Ana, you’re going to have to ride by yourself”
My whole world was suddenly shaken apart
“Wha-wha-what do you me-mean?” I sputtered as I stared gaping at my sister’s unforgiving face as she tried to cover her mouth from laughing.
I couldn’t BELIEVE that one of my own blood, my own family, would betray me like this. Someone who was entitled to protect my health and wellbeing at ALL times, was making me endure my own DEATH.
ALL. BY. SELF.
“Well you better get a move on” declared my sister as she swayed her hand dramatically with virtue towards the empty cart in front of me “before you make yourself look stupid.”
She and Grace slowly slide into the cart near the front of the coaster cart along with everybody in line as I stood with my knees wobbling.
“Well, ya comin’?” said a exacerbated voice of an annoyed and pimply teenage ride operator over a microphone.
Everyone in the deployment station turned in my direction and huffed in exasperation, muttering about holding up the line and kids not being as brave as they used to be.
Turning bright red, I quickly put my head down and climbed slowly into the ride cart as another ride worker quickly lifted down the overhead cart handle over my head and tightened and adjusted my seat belt into place.
As soon as I was in place the ride quickly started moving and immediately started climbing the steepest hill. I could feel the sweaty seat conforming around my legs as I cringed out loud.This whole situation that I’m in, I decided was too much.
“Emily, the amount of how much I hate your guts right now is off the charts!” I yelled so that my sister and Grace could hear me as we slowly ascended the slope of the hill.
“ Do you realize the position you put me?!” I yelled with a nervous tone
I heard the people a couple of carts in front of me start laughing at my outbursts as we slowly creeped up the hill.
“Grace, you too, why did you go sit with her, I’m the one that truly needs support and reassurance here!”
More people on the ride started laughing, in order to take some edge off before the looming plummet coming in less than ten seconds.
I quickly gathered in my brain that despite the fact that my death was arriving shortly, it would be best that I try to make my last moments light. Yelling and cursing at my sister and Grace, I felt that I was helping everyone try and take down the suspense and make others laugh.
With a look at the horizon overlooking the top of the hill, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes as I yelled out a curse with my loudest scream ever, as we tipped over the edge and nose dived down the steep hill.
With my face whipped, my hair unruly, and my eyes dry from the water coming out during the ride, I slowly exited the cart and went down the stairs. Waiting for me below was Emily and Grace, who were laughing from all the excitement the ride had caused for them. Looking at me, and laughing at how shocked I was, they asked me, “So, what did you think of the ride?”
Before I was about to let the answer leave my lips, I got interrupted.
“Dude, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder in my entire life man.” said a random dude to me.
“Yeah.” said his friend. “Keep on slaying life my friend.”
Blinking, I just nodded my head and looked at my Emily and Grace, and replied.
“I just took that like a freakin’ man”.