Blurred Vision
Emma, Age 13, Doylestown, PA

I can still feel the sweat beads lick the back of my neck. Each one unravelling, my fingers gripped firmly around the bar. I lifted my hand, keeping my other one tight on the harness, and slowly reached for the black buckle, ripping tugging pulling it, with strength I didn’t know I had. Every tug that didn’t make the buckle loose was reassured me about the path that lay ahead, and I wasn’t ready to make my incline up.

“Make sure you make it back alive,” she said, and with that she outstretched her hand.
A thousand buttons lay out in front of her: whining, glowing, beeping. A person could go insane working and controlling those buttons all day, but she knew just the right one to press that would lead me to my doom.

I felt my feet slide underneath me—as the wheels tugged forward, kissing the steel rusted path for the 1000th time today. I gripped my handle, plastering my eyes shut. Tighter and tighter for each passing second that brought us closer to the peak. Even through the blinding green lights and mount function warning systems—groaning and blinking in a perfect accord—I could still hear the metal of the gates opening as the people shuffled on board their car, just behind me. I braced myself for the drop, the drop that would make us feel sick to our stomachs. With a force I didn’t know we had, we surged forward. I braced myself for a stomach quenching drop, but we had already completed a full turn at the peak and we were increasing speed for another. It all went so fast. I could feel my lips part, slung open in pure terror, and all that I could manage to escape from them was a scream. Our heads flew back, jerked from side to side as we watched the world around us turn before our eyes. I knew for sure that this was my end, hanging upside down staring at the growling stream below, but the tracks and coaster never lost contact. We defied gravity then, as we danced upside down on the sun kissed stream, spraying us with flecks of hot water. I zoomed under the rail, under the tunnel, the wind slapping and scratching at my face as we stretched forward. Turning and spinning, rotating and squirming, rising and dropping, all with my screams to accompany these acts of horror. We rose one last time, steadily and swiftly, catching our breath for the last turn and jolt that made us sick to our stomach—it was finally over.

I welcomed the familiar starting point that I thought I would never see again. Thrashing my harness off, ripping the buckles out. With blurred vision, I wobbled dazed out of the exit door. Pushing through the ramps—trying to get away from the ride I had just encountered. Before getting on that ride my mind was capsized with fear, rejecting the very thought of getting on. With my body shaking I said, “You have to be crazy to go on that.” All the while my voice twitched with fear. I could feel my brother’s eyes piercing through me, searching for anything, something that would give him hope, but that was before the very first time I went on that ride.

While waiting in line to board the ride for a second time, I realized then, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (Robert Frost). I took the road less traveled, and that was a risk worth taking.

I was in the same row; I slowly dragged my feet one in front of the other to make my way to the same seat. Beeping and whining the buttons glowed to life as the lady pressed just the right one that would lead me to my doom. My feet slid beneath me as we inclined forward and I couldn’t help but feel my lips peel back as they slowly crept along the sides of my face.

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