Niagara Memories
Tylar. Age 13. Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Originally published in July 2014.

The dock appeared longer than it actually was. I walked alongside the rest of my family—clad in plastic blue sheets of armor—as I fought the urge to sprint the whole way down. When we reached the edge, I couldn’t spend another second standing there. I wanted, needed, to mount the boat, to stake out my spot along the dripping wet, paint chipped wooden rail.

Seeming to move before my brain processed it, my feet launched me up the ramp. Thump, thump, thump. My family hurried to catch up, but I didn’t even notice them.
Once I had mounted the boat, I bolted toward the front of it. Then, right before my eyes, I saw a tiny ray of light that seemed to sneak out from behind the morose clouds onto the perfect place where I, an eager petite child practically bouncing with merriment, could squeeze into. I wedged myself in between two sluggish adults. My family pushed their way through the crowd toward my little place on the boat, like an angry mob, and joined me.

We just gazed out at the thousands of gallons of water rushing down in the distance and the white mist consuming the place where I knew the water was smashing through the surface of the lake and becoming one with it.

Abruptly, the engine roared to life, startling everyone aboard who was too busy gaping at the magnificence of the Falls to even register the captain’s safety protocol lecture until he was finished his spiel.

I could hear the squeals of joy coming from the mouths of my younger siblings. I tried to stifle the yelp of intense delight, but it was to no avail, so the boat propelled toward the Falls, carrying the sound of the motor and children’s shrieks.

The white mist that hit my face and exploded with an icy force against my warm skin surprised me. I hollered with immense pleasure. So close, I thought, we are so close. The mist began to smack me more frequently and I sought out my parents’ and siblings’ faces to seek comfort as I faced the new experience head on.

Their eyes were fixed on the giant Niagara Falls, which were roaring louder and louder as we approached the massive waterfall that loomed so, so close now. I looked at it too. My face was now completely covered with little droplets and more tried to fight their way toward us.

Joy bubbled up in my stomach and burst out in a laugh. I could not contain my happiness, neither could my family as they laughed and giggled and tried to take cover from the rushing rivulets of water. I did not see why they would want to shy away from this marvellous moment, so I put on a brave face and faced the cold water, gathering all of my might so that I would not cringe away. I kept staring straight ahead, letting the cold wind, water, and mist pervade my face, hoping that more drops would come in my direction.

Laughing and beaming, I conveyed my elation with a huge smile didn’t leave my face for a long time. I felt pure joy that I got to spend such a great time in my life with such great people who care and love me dearly.

To my disbelief, I felt the boat give a sharp, hard turn toward the left and despised the fact that we were going back. I watched the Falls continue to dump its diverse cache of blues and greens and turquoises and whites into the deep, watery depths below. Its brilliance struck me as it receded into the distance and fog.

I sighed with gloom, but also contentment; my family and I got to be subjected to something that scarcely anyone else ever will. We were unified in that moment of utter elation.

The mist that I’d become so accustomed to slowly began to dissipate and I was brought back into the stale air. I could just barely hear the cacophonous rush of water to the lake.

Once the boat smashed into the dock we—an awestruck group of five people, drenched in water—tried to linger for as long as we possibly could, but we were pushed off by the large mass of people.

The five of us hurriedly broke away from the surging crowd and walked off together. We reluctantly discarded our blue ponchos, but not the memories. We would carry those forever.

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