Updated: Aug 1, 2021
“ “Now!” he yelled, pushing my shoulder, and down I went. I began to gain momentum. Faster and faster my heavy body shot down the shoot, banking each corner higher and harder. "
One summer my parents allowed me to bring my friend Chris on a vacation to the 1000 Islands. I had wanted to return there, as I was now 16 and nostalgic for my childhood trips to the river. My dad rented a cabin, and as we crossed the first span of the bridge over the St. Lawrence, I noticed a new water park built below, with slides, a pond full of bumper cars, and other wet adventures. A day later, we parked in the lot and went through the gate. At 310 pounds, I knew I wouldn’t be taking my shirt off like the dozens of teenagers running from ride to ride wearing only their swim trunks. I had endured so many years of this limitation that I had accepted that I wasn’t like most boys, and so my XXL blue cotton t-shirt stayed on. We started with the smaller rides, finally making our way to the big water slide, the path winding up a hill to the steep top of the chute, which overlooked the curly descent back down to a small pool at the bottom. We got in line and inched closer. ”Go!” yelled the guy in charge of pacing people, to a kid in the front. As the boy went down the shoot he quickly yelled “Go!” again, putting one kid seconds behind the other. Then Chris got in. “Go!” the attendant snarled at him, and he disappeared. I was next. ”Go!”… “Already?” I asked. His face reddened. “Now!” he yelled, pushing my shoulder, and down I went. I began to gain momentum. Faster and faster my heavy body shot down the shoot, banking each corner higher and harder. The sound of my backside hitting each connection of the tube got louder and louder. Suddenly, I could hear people closing quickly ahead, and as I saw the light at the end of the tunnel I also saw Chris’s skinny back coming up on me like a stalled car. “Aghhhhh!!” I screamed, and I hit his legs as he scrambled to stand up and grab onto anything. I knocked him up and out of the slide, into the air, and over the bushes that surrounded the ride, his arms and legs flailing madly. I turned to see two little kids ahead, just as they saw me. Then they screamed too. The huge wave I had created slowed me as I caught both of them in my arms, sliding them all the way across the pool and into the frantic arms of their parents. My parents had already picked Chris up off the sidewalk. “My darling child,” my mother moaned to me, sadly. “You’re too big for that ride,” my father stated, and we walked to the car.