By Lauren Oswald

The world seemed to spin as the gray tracks bumped and squeaked against the chain. Was this it? Was this really what she paid for? Was it what she decided to give up fear for? The sounds of kids screaming, music blasting and cotton candy machines whirling were pounding in her head, trying to break into a normally quiet mind.

Why didn’t she control herself? If the AcidBop3000 ticket booth hadn’t been her first encounter when she walked into the park, then it would never have happened.

But it was too late. Sam Garcia had already made it into the bright blue and orange seats with the black belts in the fifth row to the highest point on the ride. She couldn’t put her hands up and scream like the other twelve-year-olds in the front with big smiles and bulky braces. She had to sit there, desperately holding onto the sides of the cart, trying not to scream. And in just a few seconds, she would drop to her death from the highest point in the park. But she paused. Everything paused.

She caught a glimpse of it all. The sky. The shining sun. The fresh air. The other side. The end of the ride. She would be there. As soon as she committed to it.

It all seemed like a dream. But it was real life. She was living. Breathing. Thriving. And it was time to let go of the clinging fear of believing that life wasn’t just a dream. It was reality. It was all rushing to her brain. One more small click of the track and she would be falling.

10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1…

She fell forward in her seat and felt the fresh wind against her messy brown hair. A few people around her let out a scream, but she didn’t. She lived. She survived it. She broke the fear that was constantly wrapping around her mind. And for some reason, she had never felt better.

It was almost like she plummeted from the sky. As her cart was dropping there was a small sensation of thrill that tumbled her body and shook her nerves awake. It was FUN. It didn’t need to be frightening if she made herself think it was. She just needed to believe.

The ride continued on, adding a few more waves and turns, until the coaster slowed and the speakers sounded. She carefully got out of her seat and saw the familiar face of her friend waiting for the ride, and he waved at her.

“So, how was it?” he asked. “I heard this ride is quite intimidating. I never would’ve thought that you would do something like this. You’re such a scaredy-cat.”

She playfully shoved him aside as she stepped back so he could take her place on the ride. But before walking away, she stopped. “Hey, is there any more room in that seat? I think I want to go again.”

He looked puzzled, but soon smiled and moved over. “Let’s do this.”

And for the first time, she smiled back.


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