Lagoon Day - Victoria WETZEL

Dear Diary, 

Today is the day I have been dreading the most. I have been hoping I would be sick so I wouldn’t have to do it. Today, my family and I are going to Lagoon. There. I said it. I’m not looking forward to it at all. I don’t like Lagoon, I don’t like roller coasters, but I don't like feeling *or looking* like a baby. So I will be riding all of the rides. I’ve tried to come up with a lie that will let me stay home. Like, I need to finish a school project, but Mom keeps saying that “you can finish the project tomorrow!” or “but- today is Lagoon day! You needed to do this assignment yesterday, you will just have to do it tonight,” I really don’t want to sound like a wimp, but I have some serious motion sickness…. I really want to try to ride at least one big ride today. I hope I can keep that promise to myself. 

 

Ugh. Mom just called, it’s “time to go!” Wish me luck. 

 

I laid down my pencil and slipped my shoes on. I could feel the stomachache already. I grabbed my backpack, and clunked down the stairs. Maybe I could volunteer to ride with Austin, my 2-year-old brother. Or maybe I could supervise Riley in her antics with Ella. That would at least keep me away from Cannibal and the Colossus, but that would keep me in Kitty Land, with the cars and that creepy bouncy whale thing. Or maybe I could just hang out with Laine the whole time. We could go to the little town thingy and ride the train and play the games. Or- there was a 90% chance that I would be stuck with Emma, Eva, Ben, Dexter, Alex, Ella, Krissy, Kathryn, Jennica and Maggie the whole time. Plunging down steep hills, shooting high into the air, and being flipped around all day long. Yikes. 

“Honey, what took you so long to get down here?” Mother asked, feeling my forehead. I held my breath, hoping it would make my forehead hotter, anything to get to stay home today. “Oh, just um…. Trying to find clean socks!” I replied nervously, hoping my lie didn’t show too much. 

“Oh well. The laundry will be done tonight. You can have fresh socks for school, get into the car, we’re late,” she said, giving me a friendly nudge in the direction of the car. I walked as slow as I could. I opened the door as slowly as I could, and I took forever buckling in. Only 2 minutes wasted, dang it. We rode in silence, not an awkward silence, but a thoughtful one. 30 minutes later, we pulled into the dreaded parking lot of Lagoon.

“Oh! I think I see Aunt Milley, Aunt Gracie, Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Stewart!” Mom called, waving to her sisters and her brother-in-law. As mom was busy unbuckling Austin from his carrier, I saw Laine walk up to me. Laine. My best friend in the entire world. 3 days older, wild, very long red hair and crystal blue eyes. Almost my opposite. I have pixie short black hair, and dark eyes. 

“Hi Clara,” she told me. “I’m glad you decided to come today!” her excitement was contagious. I even found myself smiling as me and her skipped up to the rest of the group. We walked into the park together pretty obediently, but as soon as Ben and Alex saw Bombora, they decided to announce it to the group that there was no line, and it dissolved into chaos after that. 

“Clara, Laine, Ella, can you girls be in charge of keeping the kids in order?” Aunt Milley asked in a strained voice, chasing after Emma and Maggie. 

“Um… sure!” I tried to say in a ‘no problem’ voice, but…. 3 girls to look after 8 kids? This was going to be an interesting day. 

“This will be a great excuse to get you off the rides!” Laine whispered to me. She was really the only one I’d told about my hesitance to come today. 

After about an hour, the kids were ready to ‘evolve’ as they kept putting it, to the older, bigger, scarier rides. I could not contain my dread. I nearly threw up on our way to the Colossus. “Alright everybody! Who’s ready for the Colossus?” I heard mom call, the Colossus, the huge roller coaster famous for its double loop-de-loops and several harsh twists and turns. The kids erupted into laughter, screaming, jumping, running and pointing. I knew what they were pointing to, but I really did not want to follow their gaze to the huge double loop-de-loops of Colossus. 

“Hey mom? I was wondering if I could stay down here with um…. Austin?” I asked her. “Honey, Austin is with Aunt Evelyn in Kitty Land right now. Everyone is going up,” My mom responded, grabbing Dexter by his overalls as he tried to chase after a dog and hauled him over to the line. I reluctantly followed. 

“You know, mom. I think I will just um… wait down here for you guys!” I tried again. I knew that my fear was so obvious, but that didn’t stop me from trying. 

“Honey. If you’re scared, then that’s all the more reason you should do it. You need to conquer your fears. Stay back if you’d like, but there’s a few someone’s who are counting on you,” mom said as she turned and headed up the big stairs. I saw who she meant by a “few” someone’s. There were all 12 of my cousins waving to me.

 

I was tired of being scared. I took a deep breath and climbed up the stairs. I took my seat next to Alex, as Riley was already next to Laine. 

“Glad you could make it,” Alex whispered to me. I smiled back and fought off the nausea that had been slowly settling into every single muscle since the second I sat down.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Colossus,” The automated voice recited. I tried to sit down farther in my seat so I could pull my seat belt thing down as tight as it would go. But as soon as the voice dropped away, I found that I really didn’t want to be here. One look at the hill the coaster was seconds away from speeding down and I was yanking at my seatbelt, desperate to get it unlocked so I could get back on solid ground. But I was too late. 

“Clara, Clara! Calm down, it’s going to be fine. I ride this ride every year and I love it,” I heard Alex say. He was very soft spoken in this family, but those were just the words I needed. I calmed down a little and stopped yanking at my seat belt. And just in time. The ride was slowly pulling forward. Pushing itself up the huge hill we had to conquer. Krissy was nearly bouncing out of her seat with anticipation. 

Emma was the first to fling her hands in the air as the coaster tipped downward. The nose getting pulled closer and closer to the bottom of the hill. I squeezed my eyes shut as tight as they would go and gripped the handle bar as I felt the coaster speed down the hill. A moment later though, I felt a new sensation. 

I was weightless. I’d never felt this sensation before, and I loved it. This feeling of being able to go faster than I’d ever gone before. I loved the feeling of the speed, I loved the air in my face. I loved this roller coaster. I peeked my eyes open and saw that we were in the middle of the first loop-de-loop. I opened my eyes a little farther and smiled that we’d cleared the first loop-de-loop with no difficulty. Next came the second loop-de-loop. This time I lifted my hands in the air and whooped with joy. Once we cleared the second loop-de-loop we went through a bunch of fun twists and turns. I was surprised when I felt a pang of dismay as I felt the cart slow to a stop. I leaped out and was the first to call that we should go ride the “Old White Roller Coaster”, another very popular attraction at Lagoon. Over 100 years old, it’s a bone-rattling ride with sharp twists and rickety heels, it made sense that I’d never ridden it before. As the group charged ahead, I hung behind, watching them with gleaming eyes. What a kookey family I had. Their quirks didn’t make them any less lovable though. I beamed at Laine as she walked up to me. I spun around, ready to get off this ride and go conquer the next. But mom stopped me. “Nice job, sweetie. I’m proud of you,” she said.