Conquering The Sidewinder

My legs are shaking, my hands are shaking, all of me is shaking. I know it is not too late to turn back. . . .

I blink my eyes open to see my cousin Nathan waking up beside me. I freak out for a moment thinking that I’ve missed my plane from Denver back to JFK airport but relax when I realise that it is still thursday. I have have 1 more day left.

I stretch, yawn, and glance at the clock. 8:15. Two Elitch garden tickets lay on top of the clock and I recall the talk Nathan, my aunt Amy, and I had last night about going to elitch gardens with the tickets nathan got for his birthday.

I get a closer look at the tickets and see a monster roller coaster looming over the other rides with loops, twists dives, and worst of all people screaming. I pray that Nathan is not a fan of crazy rides.

After a quick breakfast of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, we pack our bags and head to the car where my aunt Amy is waiting patiently.

For most of the ride, I put my head down but the looming question is like a beast trying to escape its cage.

I can’t wait any longer and ask, “what kinds of rides will there be?” hoping he will not only answer my question but also what rides he likes and doesn’t. “

“It is a theme park and a water park in one,”

I exhale the breath i didn’t know I was holding. I love water rides.

“There is also an awesome rollercoaster that goes like 50 MPH and has a tone of loops?”

My throat goes dry and I choke out, “I’ve never been on a loop.”

The car slowed down and the disappointing look on my cousin and aunt’s face was too extreme so I turned away from them and looked out the window knowing what will be said next and dreading it.

“Today is a great day to go on the first loop,” my aunt says trying to be optimistic

The rest of the ride is silent and I get more and more nervous as the it goes on.

I see the roller coaster looming above before I see the  park entrance. We park and walk to the entrance. I can feel my heart rate increase tenfold.

“Zac, Zac,” Nathan says. “Should we meet back here at 4.”


But I think to myself, 7 hours to avoid roller coasters to go.

We walk in silence through the park. Rides are just starting up around us. I can hear the fearful screams in the distance. The smell of orange chicken and dippin dots hit me and my stomach rumbles even though I ate less than two hours ago.

Nathan walks up to a ride that hasn’t started yet and stands in the ever growing line. I hear screeching sound above me. I look up. My legs buckle but I catch them . Nathan brought us to a loop ride. The very first ride. There goes my hope of avoiding it.

“Come on the ride started,” my cousin says and drags me through the ropes and up the stairs until we stop, 2 flights of stairs from the top. Halfway up, halfway down. I glance up quickly but look away from the roller coaster and look past the railing, past the metal park fence, and into the city of denver.


I realise that no matter how much I look away and distract myself, I will still be able to hear the piercing screams of the riders. Not screams of excitement, but screams of fear.

“It’s okay, this will be fun,” my cousin says seeing the discomfort in my eyes.

“Yea,” I reply and fake a smile not very successfully.

There is one thing keeping me in line now… Bravery. Actually it’s the group in front of us. They have a 3 year old who is excited to go on the ride. A 3 year old girl.

The ride clicks to a stop in front of me, it’s our turn to ride. My legs are shaking, my hands are shaking, all of me is shaking. I know it is not too late to turn back. I know it’s not too late to turn back…. But I’ve come too far. I bravely take a step into the rollercoaster and I trip. I stand back up and sit down on the cold hard plastic seat. I pull the green metal bar down locking me in and hold with white knuckles  as if my life depends on it. The roller coaster guys walk down the the two sides of the rollercoaster and make sure everyone is locked in. As the ride skreetches forward I am terrified but proud that I was brave enough to go on the roller coaster.


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