Cold, hard plastic pushes into my collarbone as the cart creaks upward. The sweet scents of ice cream and sunscreen drift through the sticky summer air. As we slowly inch skyward, the world around us comes into sight. Not just treetops, or rooftops, but the entire earth stretches before us, as the theme of the amusement park is the wonders of the world. Meticulously replicated and miniaturized pyramids, temples, and towers represent all ends of the earth. While lugging backpacks, purses, and souvenirs we had bought along the way and making our way from one attraction to the next, I hadn’t fully appreciated the vastness of the park. However, now I could capture it all in one picture.
We’ve reached the peak, and the cart has come to a complete stop. Everyone on the ride holds their breath in anticipation, and the silence adds to the suspense. The setting sun rests in an orange sphere atop the clouds. Even the younger girls behind us knew not to utter a sound. I’m appreciating the natural beauty when —
The world is yanked from beneath our feet.
We’re falling, stomachs dropping, skin pulled tightly against our faces. Instinctively my cousin and I reach for each others’ hands. We interlace our fingers and hold on as tightly as possible. We scream at the top of our lungs even though our cries are inaudible above the sound of air rushing past the twisting, turning, and flipping cart. As we’re hanging upside down, a bright flash momentarily blinds us. I know the picture will make us laugh once we stumble off the ride, gasping and giggling, ready to get back in line and go again.