MAY 31, 1935
I no longer feared death like I had before. As my life quickly flashed before my eyes at the thought of the cart drifting from the tracks and breaking into pieces as we were flung helplessly through the air, I felt strangely at ease and drunk from her kiss. Our lips touched and everything stopped. I felt a calm that I can only compare to the calm I used to feel in my mother’s arms years ago. I could feel that she was attracted to me. It was no secret. I had to ride the Wild Cat three times before I experienced it. I couldn’t stop looking at Evy.
He was filled with exhilaration as the train pulled to the platform with uncertain jerking and pulling. It seemed unsafe: the burning electrical smell, the clacking of the hook against the chain until they connected, the stop and grab of the car on its way up the steep hill.
“You have to sit in the front for your first time to really experience it all.”
He was pale, his color gone knowing that he’d be next. She slid in first, and he followed. A bar came down, but didn’t press against his legs. “How do you stay in this thing?” he mumbled.
“Gravity,” was her reply.
“I think I change my mind,” he said in a panic, his face getting hot.
“Look at me,” she said.
She kissed him quickly on the lips, and the train began its ascent.
His panic turned to elation and the roller coaster held no fascination compared to the burning longing he had to know her. He watched her hair flutter behind her, pure joy overcoming her face as the sharp bend knocked them into each other.
Had I known that roller coasters were the perfect excuse to press up next to someone, I might have taken a girl to ride one a long time ago. Her elbow pressed into my ribs during the sharp right turn, and her hair tickled my cheek on the sharp left. I chose to let the ride slide me where it may, and by the end, I wouldn’t have been able to put a dime between us. Now I know why poets find death romantic. I felt like I had nothing to lose in that moment, which made that closeness much less of a sin. I suspect that right before death comes a longing to experience everything you’ve missed by behaving. That’s what I felt when I looked at her.
His cheeks glowed pink, and I think he was scared. When we stepped off the ride, I swear I saw his heart beating right through his vest. Curious about it, I pressed my ear against him, then suggested he sit on the bench for a moment. He sat and took a deep breath, then began to laugh. I laughed with him, not sure what we were laughing at. He’s the first genuinely happy person I’ve met in a long time. I never know what the agenda is of people who hide their true emotions. I’ve only participated in that nonsense out of my stubborn pride. Most of the time I wear my heart on my sleeve, a bad thing if you follow history, but a good thing if you want to be vulnerable to the possibility of love.
From the remnant of a Wild Cat car found after the fire.