Standing in line was hard enough, anxiety pulsing through her body as the screams of others racing down the drop echoed through her ears and rippled through her body. It sent chills down her spine as she forced her knees to not give out on her with every step. Gripping onto her friend’s hand sent a sensation of nostalgia through her, a memory making its way through her brain and history that made the situation feel very dejavu.
She had once held her mother’s hand just like this before, staring hard at the ground as the screams from people having fun made her flinch with every drop they went on. For so many people going on the ride, it felt like the line was going very slowly. As a child, this was horrible, time never made sense. Being bored felt like forever, things like school took a toll because the seconds went by slowly. This was worse than those situations. She felt like she was being tortured. Whenever someone moved, they only moved a foot closer- if even that much. The people behind her were getting impatient, scooting closer and closer into her personal space.
“I can’t do this.” the little girl mumbled to her mother. “They are so close to me.” tears welled up in her eyes. She watched them fall to the ground, counting each one as she tried hard to make them stop.
“Honey, you’re fine.” Her mother cooed, leaning against the railing before pulling the girl closer to wipe her eyes. “Every time we come you want to go on this ride, but then you get too scared. I know you can do it this time!” She flashed a warm smile and the little girl nodded in return.
It was true. She wanted to experience this, at least once. Her brother and dad went on it all the time, and even if her mother wasn’t a fan of drop rides just like her she couldn’t help but feel as if she were holding her mother back on this type of experience as well. Why go to a theme park anyways if you’re not going to go on the rides?
The sound of screams got closer, she could feel her body shaking completely as the tears continued to well up in her eyes and stream down her cheeks. The girl held onto her mother’s arm with both hands, practically leaning on the woman even if it were too hot out for that. They were sweating and sticky yet she couldn’t let go. Three people stood ahead of them and she felt as if she were about to throw up, the ride was right there, they were asking her mother how many were in the party.
“No.” She mumbled. “No no.” She repeated again and again. Fingers unwrapped from her mother’s arm and moved on to her own, nails digging into her skin as the crying continued to get worse. “I’m leaving.” Usually being around people was an issue, but moving past the bars and through the people was no problem at all.
“Honey!” Her mother called, quickly scurrying after the little girl. A hand clasped her daughters as she led her out the correct way of the ride. “We made it farther than last time.” She said calmly. “You did great.”
She didn’t feel like she did great, but because her mother said it then it must have been true. “You don’t get to go on because of me.” The little girl hiccuped between sobs.
“It’s fine.” Her mom said with a sigh. “I’ve been on so many rides like this, I would rather go on the rides that are more comfortable for you.”
“Are you sure you’re fine?” Another voice spoke out, making the girl shake out of her trance. Her best friend gave her hand a squeeze, her brows raised and a small frown rested on her lips. “We don’t have to go on, you know. I’m here for whatever choice you make.”
The situation was so similar it was scary. She nodded, trying her best to smile confidently at her friend. “You want to go on, I want to go on, and I don’t want you to go on alone if I chicken out or something.”
“Okay.” Her friend said with a smile, turning her head to look at the line before them.