Life is a roller-coaster dive of peaks and valleys. One minute, I’m chugging up the hill, my breath caught in my throat, simultaneously sick and thrilled as I chant to myself, “This time I will keep my eyes open. This time I will watch and see everything.” As the car crests the hill and begins its downward swoop, a scream rips itself free from my throat and my eyes slam shut. All my brave resolve disappears as I feel myself plummeting (so fast, oh mercy-me, so very fast) with gravity, my body slamming side to side and upside down, my body straining against the flimsy straps, the only things that stand between me and certain death. I’d almost think I’m holding my breath if not for the shrieks—my shrieks—filling the space around me. “I will never do this again” becomes my new mantra, a whiskey-promise followed by an “I’m going to die” chaser.
Hours of eternity disguised as minutes posing as seconds flash through my body and just as I am beginning to give up and give in, wearily telling myself “Hey, maybe this isn’t so bad; I could get used to this,” the car rights itself and begins to slow. I am thrown forward, jarred by the sudden stop at the end. The nervous laughter of my fellow passengers echoes my own as I try and stand, my legs Jell-O cubes, my stomach sick with adrenaline. I exit the ride, patting my hair down. My feet have never welcomed solid, non-moving ground so much.
Later, when too much sitting around has lulled me into a false sense of life’s okayness, I will convince myself that maybe the ride wasn’t that scary. I will make my way back to the roller-coaster and stand in line again, comforting myself with the fact that at least now I know what the ride feels like. THIS time, I tell myself, I will keep my eyes open; gosh, I may even just let go and keep both arms lifted in the air. I continue kidding myself all that long, long wait until the moment I strap myself into the car and feel the gears grind into motion. I hold my breath and begin chanting as the ride climbs to the top, then my eyes slam shut, my hands become iron clamps on the bar, and I