Maybe it was the mini-roller coaster in Coney Island.
The one before the crazy spinning turbo that had fucked up his back with an unexpected jolt.
Maybe it was the…
“Are you trying to aggravate me with that typing. There is no need to do that.”
The voice from the bedroom would be leaving soon. She would be leaving the apartment on an errand of some sort. She would be leaving the marriage after 14 years… and in a couple of weeks or months they would have to tell the kid the plan. The plan was still in the works.
The conversation that had started it all happened a couple years earlier after years of counselling.
She was done. She didn’t love him anymore, etc. But they had the kid. So there was that.
So things got worse and by worse so bad I don’t want to write about it— if you don’t mind and he didn’t want to talk about it with friends and family.
That bad. But he held on. They did. For the kid. Didn’t work, not really.
They had gone to Coney Island before, just the two of them when the kid wasn’t in the picture yet and the photo from that day showed a young couple that was happy and a day that was hot, a boardwalk that was bustling and a sky full of clouds and seagulls. He had his arm protectively around her belly in the photo, maybe he knew then what was to come.
The kid had been a blessing and a joy but the marriage still could not be saved.
Her mom had not been back to Coney Island since she was 10, so she tagged along on this latest trip.
She knew what the deal was and had always been decent to him as mother in laws go. She did the tea-cup ride with the kid. Low impact. As the four of them walked the boardwalk they marveled at the sights and sounds. The grandmother was intrigued by the carnival barker in front of the Freak Show. Luna Park was semi-crowded. For some reason, there were a lot of Muslims in the park, wearing religious garb, praying on the grass, Running in packs from ride to ride.
Somehow, she convinced him to let the kid go on the crazy spinning turbo ride even though it looked terrifying. Once on line, of course, the kid didn’t want to go on alone. As the dad, he had to go on too despite his dislike (fear of) such thrill rides in general. They were both comforted by two little girls in front of them on line.
“Have you ridden on this thing before?” he asked them.
“Only once, my friend had to pee really bad so she peed her pants and I passed out.”
“Dad, is it too late for us to get off the line?”
“Don’t worry kid, let’s just do it… I’m scared too…the secret to these rides is to realize what’s going on while you are going through it–you go up, then down, up and then down– about ten times in different directions at varying heights and speeds and then before you know it –it slows down and it’s over.”
“Ok,” the boy replied smiling with excitement.
Throughout the ride, the dad talked with his son, “now we go up and now we go down, now we go up and now we go down again, see nothing to worry about it’s a beautiful day and I’m right here.”
His son was ok for a while but as the ride started going faster and faster the boy cried out, “make it stop! make it stop!”
“I’m right here, I’m not going to let anything hurt you, it’s just going to go up again and then it’s going to go down, up and then …. down.” The dad tried to sound as brave as he could as the colorful scenery continued to blur and the children all around them continued to scream in fear.
“Make it stop! make it stop!”
“It’s almost over…you’re doing great, you’re doing great, see it’s already slowing down.”
“You’re right –that was kind of fun–but it was also really scary.”
They shared a smile and a fist bump.
They got off the ride and felt a mixture of light-headedness, a return of equilibrium, an endorphin rush and a feeling of pride.
The girls were impressed.
It would soon be time to head back to the city and leave Coney Island.
Banner Image: Pixabay.com