I'm really proud of this paper. I wrote it for my english class. It's a true story that I experience last summer.
A Reflective Roller Coster
Here I am, holding his hand, never wanting to let go. It’s funny how love can do that to a person. We’ve been sitting in the car for almost 7 hours now and I still enjoy every squeeze I get from his strong rough hands. Christopher is tall and skinny. He’s the smart kid who never ceases to amaze me. Holding my hand with no words needed is enough, just little reminders of how happy we are when he lifts up our hands to his mouth and gently kisses the back of mine. I can’t help but to smile and try to keep my heart from fluttering out of my chest. I’m in a new place, with a boy I’ve only known for 6 months and about to be thrown into the sky at 120 mile per hour, yet I’m at complete ease. The comfort I feel around him is so peaceful I don’t ever want to lose it. I don’t know how I could ever feel this wonderful and carefree without him.
When I went to visit Chris this summer in Pittsburgh, little did I know how much of his childhood was spent on the road between Detroit Michigan and Steeler Nation (Pittsburgh). We took the 7 hour long road trip so that I could experience a once in a lifetime adventure: “The Top-Thrill Dragster:” the 2nd tallest and faster roller coaster in the world. I always loved traveling and riding roller coasters; but it never crossed my mind to actually plan where to travel based on which theme park I wanted to visit. Come to think of it, I don’t know how boring old Salem Oregon formed me into the wild thrill junkie that I am. Or am I? Was I just doing this to impress Chris? Was I lost somewhere in that safety bubble I felt around him. I assumed I should probably figure this out before I rode my life away in about an hour.
Growing up, I was loaded with the best childhood. My mom ran her own day care at our home, so it basically meant we could have our best friends over every day before and after kindergarten. My brother, Garrett, had a friend named Ben, and Ben had a brother named Brandon. Brandon was my age, and Ben was Garrett’s age. They were the most regular of all the day care kids, and our favorite to play with. We had our routine down flat. After kindergarten we would all walk home from school, strip down, and wear our Power Ranger costumes before we even got out of the front hallway. My older brother Garrett, was the leader of the pack: The White Ranger, like Tommy in the TV show. He always had the best ideas and always had a bunch of toddlers following him, waiting to be assigned for roles in the games we’d play. Ben was the nerdy Blue Ranger, Brandon was the Red Ranger, and I was the prettiest ranger on the show, Kimberly the Pink Ranger. We spent hours spying on the mail man, our dog Scout, or whoever Garrett declared the bad guy for that day. Being the only girl in the group, I got overruled almost every time when it came to what happened next in the adventures, even though my way would’ve been way better. Being the Pink Ranger I learned a lot. You’ve got to be tough and learn to take a hit, or you can’t play with the cool older kids. I never wanted to be demoted to join my younger sister and her drooling posse. I stuck it out with the boys. I was quick to find out, that if you kissed a boy, you would never be able to face the day care kids again. Not that that ever happened but uh, the one time that Brandon kissed me in the yard, he ran inside and told everyone that I kissed him first! What a great way to ruin my first kiss story to my kids someday. It took over a year for my brother to stop saying in a demonic voice, “Alli loves Brandon!” He would say that to any of the new kids that joined day care.
Christopher’s eyes get bigger, so I know we are close. His green eyes always have this little twinkle in them when he gets excited about something. I reach over and grab his glasses to clean them. He never does, so I end up doing it for him so I can see his eyes better. We pull around a corner and I can see the mountains of steel high in the sky. I blink and we’re already parked. I see Christopher practically running around the car like a 10 year old on Christmas day, while I play mom and make sure we have everything we need in my purse for the day (assuming I know what to expect for a day at an amusement park I’ve never been to). At the front gate everyone is smashed up against the fence like a bunch of race horses about to burst. Christopher grabs my hand tighter this time, but with the feeling of determination. The clock strikes 10 and the stampede begins. Chris has the height advantage and is experienced at Cedar Point (the amusement park) to take the quickest route to the biggest rides. He had planned before hand that The Dragster would be the first ride I go on for two reasons: one, because if I go on that one first, the others won’t be so terrifying, and two, because if you’re not there early, the line can be up to 3 hours long for the 15 second ride. I held on as tight as I could while being pulled through piles of people already covered in the smell of the Park’s famous Macho Nachos. The crowd took me back in time again.
The worst part of the first week of middle school was the hallway. In the hallways there are no teachers, everyone is taller then you, and pretty much anything goes as long as there are enough people to block the teachers at the doors from seeing anything. I went into middle school knowing close to no one. My three best friends from elementary school all moved away that summer, and I thought my life was over. I had never been shy before, but this was a whole new ball park. You have new people in every class and you are assigned lunch tables by your social status. I was the shy girl who clung to the first person to talk to me, Melanie. Melanie was a nice girl that I knew from church although I didn’t know too much about her other then she was small in stature with a loud personality. Without ever realizing it, we had decided to be best friends. She was a loud, boy crazy girl who got attention for all the wrong reasons. I stood behind her as the quiet girl who always wanted the teacher to like me. She found her way to the popularity scale by dating as many boys as she could and I was in charge of picking her up every time she was single again. I learned later on that we were in a very unhealthy relationship and it destroyed my self confidence. When Melanie got attention from some popular kids, she threw me under the bus, and gossiped about me to the new group of girls that would listen to her. I would stand there and just take it as they laughed and mocked me for all my insecurities that Melanie was happy to share with them. Luckily I found a way out of that friendship in high school and got out just in time. She ended up dropping out of school and fell away from the church. Garrett was two years older then me and was the coolest junior at Sprague High School. I came into high school not as the nerd everyone made fun of, but instead as Garrett Brock’s little sister. Seeing him and his friends dominate in sports and practically run the school, I sought out being the tough sporty girl again, as a way to make my brother proud to call me his sister. I made new awesome friends that I could play sports with, joke around with, and better yet feel confident and comfortable around. This is the type of person I wanted to become again, so I decided to start high school off as the strong person I truly am.
The line splits into two, and we take the left side. Christopher grins and shows off his adorable dimples. “If you’re gonna ride on the biggest roller coaster in the world, then we’re gonna wait in this line to get the very front row!”
I can feel my heart pound, and I pray that he can’t feel my pulse beating in my hand. I take a deep breath and begin talking to myself about how I have always pushed myself. I had been the tough girl and the rebellious middle child in my family. I came to accept that I was excited but didn’t know if I could handle the amount of g-forces about to be thrown at my body. Before I could ask Chris another question, the queue begins to chant, “Roll back! Roll back!”
I stood in the line looking straight up 420 feet in the air at the 3 cars of the train that couldn’t quite reach the peak of the sky. The whole ride pauses and then starts to roll backwards towards the launch pad at 120 miles per hour. I look at Chris and he knows just by the look of my face that I’m wanting some explanation. “Did I mention how jealous I am of those people? Sometimes the coasters don’t get enough charge for the train to make it all the way over the top, So after they perform all the safety checks the people get to ride it again!”
I was hoping he had a better explanation other then sometimes the coaster doesn’t go according to plan. The mechanic finishes their checklist and shoots the coaster over the hill. I count in my head and we we’re only 3 trains away from being shot out of a canon. I take a breath and close my eyes to focus on the feeling I’ve had all along; comfort. It overwhelms me, and through all my panic I overlook the best part of this whole trip. I am with Christopher. I open my eyes. I am looking up at him smiling, enjoying watching the people before and after the ride. His smile looks just like his dad’s. Dad... he’d be a great dad. Woah Alli, pull yourself together. I bring myself out from my day dream, and I’m sitting with the small iron lap bar over me, which is the only thing keeping us from flying out. Chris looks at me and says gently “ Are you ready?”
I can’t gather myself to say anything, but I am grinning as big as he is, and nod my head yes. The car moves forward and settles into the launch pad and I can hear the hydraulics charging. I have my eyes locked on the red light that will have a 2 second count down, so you won’t know when you are actually about to launch. Out of the corner of my eye I can see Christopher in his own little world, unlike mine, with his right arm up and ready to fly. I face forward and my head is pulled back deep into the headrest. In just 3 seconds we go from a stand still, to flying 120 miles per hour. I have never felt so little control of my body in my life. I can’t move my head, my mouth is left open and the wind prevents me from closing it. Even my eye lids feel like they are lifting up off my eye balls and flapping in the wind. Straight up. The sound of the people below goes faint and the view of Ohio gets better and better. I have just a moment to enjoy the view and gain control over my neck when I hear Chris yell “Kiss me!” We share a quick smooch at 420 feet in the air, and then joyfully join in the train’s scream on the twist straight down.
Just as fast as we go up, it is over. Not only have I checked off an item from my bucket list, but I also created some time for self reflection about who I really am. On my flight home to Oregon, it was extremely hard to leave Chris for another 3 months. I learned a lot about Christopher’s family and even more about who I am capable of being.
I can’t wait for my next adventure.