We waited in line forty-five minutes at least.
“So I told the car salesman I was uncomfortable driving already and he was super pushy.”
“Oh yeah, they are always like that.”
“And so, like, he convinces me to get in the drivers’ seat, and Cat, you knooow I am already so anxious.”
“But I do it anyway.”
“You just have your permit? Your learner’s permit?”
“Yeah, just my permit.”
We are in line for the log flume. The last water ride of the day. We haven’t eaten in hours.
“So,” she looks toward the right, “I ask him how far we are going to go. He reassures me it’s just around the block, like, maybe around the neighborhood. And so we start and everything is fine. We just go around the block and he’s doing his salesman thing, pointing out all the features, the airbags, the radio.”
She leans in close to me.
“I’m pretty sure it was a CD player at that time so he’s going on and on,” she is gesturing to the air, “about how the CD player is great.”
“And you’re fifteen?”
“Yeah, ummm,” she looks up at the rafters, “fifteen or sixteen.”
She gestures to the air and looks to the right, up, again.
“But a CD player would have been a selling factor for you then.”
“Yeah, yeah, of course and we are driving and it’s going great and I’m still nervous but it’s fine. “
“Is your dad in the car?”
“No, he isn’t. He’s back at the dealership talking to the other dealers, probably about paperwork.”
I am looking to the left a lot. The TV screen keeps playing an ad for the new wooden roller coaster: invadr which is strange to me. The line begins moving again so we take a few steps forward as Leana continues her story.
“So we get back to the dealership, NO ISSUES, Cat and as we are pulling into the parking lot, I don’t know why, but instead of pressing the brake, I pressed the gas and all I remember seeing is someone’s computer like come at the window towards me. Their monitor.”
We both hear the announcement for Invader and move forward.
“HAHAHAHA. Oh my god! That must have been so scary.”
“It was so embarassing.”
“Did you go through like glass?”
“The wall, I went through the wall.”
“Hahaha. Wow! What happened? Was your dad pissed?
“I mean,” she shrugged, “I told everyone I was nervous and then did it anyway so I think they were feeling bad about it. I think they realized that they had talked me into something I didn’t want to do.”
“Well, also you were a minor with a learner’s permit.”
“Yeah exactly. I think my dad worked out a deal with them or something.”
The line moved steadily. It was hot. We were closer.
“It was scary.”
The TV hung above us in the rafters near the fan. It showed a man dressed like a viking getting into the wooden coaster and pulling down his lap bar getting ready for the ride. We both watched it. We had seen it several times now.
“Why does it keep playing the Invadr preview?”
“Oh maybe cuz they are advertising the newest coaster. The log flume is so boring. No one cares about that. Do you want to ride the Invadr next?”
Leana looked at me, cocked head.
“Oh hell to the no.”
I was sobbing in the net actually. Finally a movement inside. There was no stopping it. I didn’t care how many wolves came, I wanted it done. Let me loud about it, dramatic, terrorized. Two more had arrived, the betas, so the intermediary rushed back to get his portion. The four alphas licked their paws and sauntered over. No one moved in close to me.They sat surrounding me. They were not hungry. They did not need to rush. They sat surrounding me as I sobbed unsure of whether or not I longed for the sun or my friend more, or just a blanket, or just the sharpie on my skin. The snow had begun. Lightly it fell, making no sound at all.
We got to the front before we realized this was not the log flume which looking back made complete sense. We were moving up in line, and remember I hadn’t been to this park in years, and we could see the cars now. There was only a dad and his son in front of us.
“Cat,” she started. “This is NOT the log flume.”
The cars were wooden and green. I don’t remember any of this.
I turned immediately to the man to the left of me, “Is this the log flume?”
“No, that’s the log flume,” he pointed to the right, where Leana had been looking but it was covered by the infrastructure of the shelter for the line. “This is Invadr.”
“Oh, hell fucking no, Cat. I am not riding this. No way. No way.”
Leana was flustered and I was laughing. Hysterically actually.
“Oh shit! Can you imagine if you got on this with your fear of accidentally being trapped on a roller coaster?”
“Oh my god, no, Cat, no.”
I was laughing.
“Can you even imagine?”
The next car rolled up. I looked at her, huge smile.
“I didn’t know. I thought this was the log flume.”
“I really didn’t.”
We hadn’t eaten in hours.
“I really didn’t. I thought this was the log flume.”
“I knew,” she began, “I knew it was weird they kept playing the advertisement for the Invader as we waited in line. That never made sense to me. I’m getting off.’
I stifled another laugh but it was hard.
“I’m gonna ride it.”
“Of course you are.”
When it was our turn, she stepped over the car to wait for me at the exit and I shuffled in, anxious feeling very unprepared for this ride. I beamed, she shook her head at me.
“I really didn’t know!”
She smiled at me, kind of smirking.
“I’ll let you know how it goes.”
I hate wooden roller coasters. They are rickety, hurt my head and feel less structurally sound than steel ones but I enjoy adrenaline. Leana had said to me earlier, as I looked up at Griffon,you’re not like me, you want to ride these rides. The coaster rounded the bend and began moving up so where I was positioned, to the left of me, was the log flume going right underneaththe tracks. A happy family smiled at me. I smiled back.
“I just have fears that, like, the coaster will go off the track and you’re stuck there, the whole ride. You can’t get off.”
“Yeah,” I had nodded, admiring the Grifffon’s height.
“You should go on it,” she said. “You’re not like me. You want to ride these rides. You always like this stuff.”
Leana and I had known each other since we were five. That’s what I thought as the coaster began. I kept laughing. She would have never gotten on. She would have figured it out like she did. We even left line to go get her hat from the locker and got back in and both times didn’t notice the sign said “Invadr.” Both times she let me lead her. Both times we missed the sign. I was laughing. She was right. I want to ride these rides.
She was there when I pulled up, hair fucked up, messy. I began laughing immediately.
“How was it?”
“Honestly, I don’t really like wooden coasters but we had waited this whole time. Can you imagine?”
“No, oh my god,” she looked down at her shoe, kind of leaned over with light laughter. “I would have freaked out.”
“If you had gotten on,” I led her down the ramp, turning around slightly to tell her, “you would have realized this wasn’t the log flume immediately. The log flume goes right underneath Invadr.”
“Yeah,” I gestured my arm to show her, kind of rolled it like a wave.
“You would have panicked.”
We stopped to admire the photo booth searching for my picture.
“There,” I pointed.
Beaming and filtered, I looked young.
“Wanna ride the log flume, now? It’s right there.”
She shrugged, kind of sighed.
We had not eaten in hours and had been on our way to dinner for two.