Roller Coaster Ride

Wendy slid into the green striped vinyl seat. She pulled the foam padded safety bar over her head. She sunk into the torn seat as if it were a luxurious velvet cushion. She was home.

She didn’t hear the chatter of the ride operator. She was in her own world. The car lurched forward, and her stomach fluttered in anticipation. She let out a gasp of air rather than join the screams of the passengers behind her as the coaster raced downhill.

Wendy closed her eyes and leaned back, enjoying every move and turn of the giant monster, feeling the wind blast the hair from her face. She opened her eyes, taking in the ground above her at the precise moment the car reached the zenith of the biggest loop.

All too soon the ride was over, and the coaster slowed to a stop. She was reluctant to leave her haven. The operator shot her an irritated look. She returned with a withering look of her own, and slowly stepped out of the car. She imperceptibly dragged her feet in an act of petulance, then straightened up at the sight of two tanned teenage boys waiting in line.

Wendy shot the boys a flirtatious smile, and turned and walked down the stairs with a little sway to her hips. She knew she was being watched, and enjoyed the influence she had. As she came to the very last stair, the sun went behind a cloud, and she felt it. An impending sense of despair threatened to consume her. She threw her shoulders back and walked quickly away, hoping to leave the feeling behind.

She needed another fix, and quickly. She looked around the park. The lines were so incredibly long in the summer. She headed to the slingshot. It was an incredible ride that felt almost like free-falling. As she hurried to get in line, she felt a drop of water on her nose.

The rain started to fall, and with dismay Wendy noticed a bright streak of lightening fork through the darkening sky. One by one, her favorite thrill rides stopped running, and the crowds dissipated. Her powerlessness over the weather reflected her own feelings of helplessness.

She sought shelter at the nearest food stand. Suddenly, without warning, the loss of her plans dissolved into the loss that was her life. An uncontrolled sadness began to well up inside her and tears threatened to spill down her cheeks.

To be continued next week…

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