Nathan was always the most adventurous of my brothers, he was willing to go whenever, wherever, even if it was a rollercoaster in pitch black. Which was part of the reason I was sitting behind him screaming like a six year old, on a rollercoaster. In pitch black.
This had all started as a chance to redeem myself. About 8 years ago I was traumatized whilst riding Walt Disney World’s famous Space Mountain. Thus I had avoided any roller coaster that wasn’t Kiddy Sized since then. But over the years, through mass amounts of peer pressure, I found myself strapped into those tiny carts, sandwiched between strangers and friends, descending down 100, 200, and 300 foot drops time and time again. And when my parents surprised us with a summer trip to Disney, I vowed to ride Space Mountain with less than a shriek.
The day finally arrived, hot and sticky as the rest of July had been. As we travel through the park I glance ahead at the giant white needle piercing the sky, Tomorrowland. And below that Space Mountain.
“Welcome to Tomorrowland. Racing fun for all ages at the Tomorrowland Race Track. Tour the park from above on our very own People Mover. Take a high speed flight through space on…”
“SPACE MOUNTAIN!!!” Nate and I finish for the announcer, turning the heads of some passerby. We bounce back and forth on our heels anticipating the thrill ride. As we weave through the park we catch the whiff of turkey legs and melt-in-your-mouth ice cream from nearby vendors. Bleeps, bloops, and other spacey sounds resound from every gift shop. Hand in hand we rush past them, neither of us could contain our excitement. Alas we reach the black abyss of a hallway that fed into Space Mountain, my father and Grandfather gasping for air behind us. I look down at my brother. His brown hair was tousled about from running, and sweat drips down his face. Nevertheless he flashes a toothy grin back up at me, his nutmeg brown eyes glimmering with excitement.
“Ready?” I ask.
“Ready!” he chirps back.
“Everyone buckled?” the attendant asks, latching a few last seatbelts into place.
“Ready Gabi-o?” my dad questions, ruffling my cinnamon brown hair, streaked with rays of blonde from the summer sun.
And then I remember.
“Hey Gabi-o do you want to go on the space ride?”
“Sure daddy!” I replied.
“Todd.” my mom nagged giving him the Are You Sure This is a Safe Ride for a 6 Year Old? face.
“Don’t worry honey! We’ll be fine! You go take Matt on that Buzz Lightyear ride he loves and we’ll meet you back here in a bit!” my dad stated happily.
“Are you sure….” my mom started but was cut off as Matt tottered towards his favorite ride.
¨By mommy! I love you!¨ I shout in her direction before skipping off towards my dad, my short cropped hair fluttering out behind me.
Except I wasn’t ready. I screamed and cried and cried some more. Only stopping when I was far from Space Mountain with an ooey gooey Mickey Mouse ice cream in my hand.
My flashback subsides as soon as I hear it. The click click of gears shifting their hold on the cart. We zoom into blackness.
My first intention is to scream. So I do. Louder and longer than I had ever have. I pinch my eyes shut and try to be anywhere but here. NOT HERE.
Suddenly, I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder, my grandpa.
¨Lookup.¨ He whispers.
A rocketship. And spacemen. To my right stars, dozens of tiny twinkly lights. An artificial sky so real looking, it was convincing. I gasp mesmerized as we spiral down intricate loops and roar up steep tracks. It was beautiful.
When the ride hisses to a final stop my brother as chipper as ever, dashes up to me.
“Man, Gabi you scream like a baby!” he taunts before sprinting off.
“Nathan!” I giggle, chasing right after him, “Don’t say anything to anyone about this!!! Especially not Matt! He’ll never let it go!!!!”
“Only if you can catch me!” he laughs.