She had gotten her ticket fifty nine years ago and thus had been on the ride for that length of time plus a few months give or take, but at this stage who was counting right? The cost of the ride was expensive, but at least they gave you the ticket up front and as they explained in the beginning, you paid the price along the way. Boy was that ever an understatement.
The roller coaster was huge and stretched for as far as ones eyes could see. Great waving peaks whose apex then plummeted a person into dark and treacherous valleys, terrifying vertical loops designed to test a human’s mettle and long stretches of track designed so that your cars would reach exhilarating yet unsettling speeds that took your breath away at times: it was a laugh a minute, she thought sardonically.
There were designs in the ride to lull you into feeling safe and secure as well. These would come at unexpected moments, often after you had completed the climb of a monstrous peak and fearing a drop, you would actually find a long stretch of track at the top where you could see forever; blue skies, good times, smooth sailing and beauty everywhere. Of course this was just a facade painted by crafty souls to lure you into letting your breath out slowly. As the false sense of security temporarily caused an easing up on the white knuckled hold on your safety bar, you would soon come to your senses knowing this was only a temporary lull, so you would actually tighten up your seat belt and prepare for the next surprise along the track. There was never a dull moment on this ride.
All of her friends and family, of course, were on the same ride. Mostly however, they were in different cars. Some further ahead and having rolled along the track before her, they would often send text messages of advice on what to expect or how to handle the unexpected, which was inevitably just around the next turn. Sometimes she took their advice; more often than not, she stayed true to her character and just went with the flow of the ride.
The thing that she disliked most about the ride was the fact that the majority of the time she and her friends and family were at different points in the ride. She would be coasting along enjoying a taste of tranquility with the wind lightly blowing her hair and all hell would break loose up ahead or right behind her. She would hear the screams of a friend who’s car just flipped them upside down on a bat-wing inversion coil or the unnerving cries of a family member being tossed and turned on interlocking corkscrew twists which then plunged them downward into a roll-out which would leave them dazed and unsure for quite sometime. It could be very unsettling. ” Who designed this ride anyway”?, she would often wonder.
Hour after hour the ride rolled along. Once you were on, you were pretty much stuck till the end, they had told her that at the beginning too. Through the good sections, as well as the less than auspicious parts she didn’t remember signing on for, she continued her ride, eyes front and breathing slowly.
The end wasn’t in sight yet, or at least she hoped not, and while her part of the track was relatively smooth at the moment, she decided to break out her cell. She might as well text those up ahead to let them know she was hanging in there and that she appreciated their words of encouragement. Then she thought to herself, while she was at it and had the time, she would send a few letters of hope for those not so far behind….and she began…. “Since we are all in this together….”
Thinking Ten ➞ Words, Inc., Wednesdays: (1) ticket, (2) top, and (3) true