I rolled over gasping.
Bekah gripped my arm as the intense power of our love making ebbed and she moaned. “Fuck. You’re going to kill me tonight.” She stared up at the same ceiling I stared at and we both started giggling.
We had a bit of a problem. Here it was. See, I had asked for the next day off. And the park closed at six. It was a three-hour drive, which meant we needed to get to sleep.
We were going to Six Flags the next day. Had been planning it for weeks. It’s not a trip you need to plan for weeks but we did anyway. Two hours is all we needed there. So, we could get there at four and we would be alright. Which meant we had to leave my house at one. Which meant that if we were going to get a full night’s sleep, we needed to get to bed by five.
Well, it was eight. We had made love four times already, and after each we had fallen silent and tried really hard not to say a word. Let exhaustion grab us and have its way with us and wake up rested. Then I would think of a funny thing and say it.
She would laugh and retort.
I would giggle until I almost peed and run to the bathroom.
She would make fun of me for almost peeing the bed and I would run back to the bed and give her a wedgie. She would scream at me and pound on me with her poundy fists and we would laugh. She would tell me we needed to sleep. I would yell at her for keeping me awake. We would laugh some more, then when all of that was done we would make love.
It was nine when we realized that our day was ruined. I had saved the money. I had asked for the time off. I had done it all right. We had been talking about it for hours but at nine after not sleeping for over twenty-four hours, I knew that when I did crash, we would sleep in. We would wake up at three at the latest and we would be fucked.
So, we said fuck it. We got up, got dressed. We stopped for coffee on the way to Six Flags and drove the three hours. Got there at noon. Exhausted. But we gripped each other’s hands and we ran in. I had been up for twenty-seven hours.
The first thing we did was Dragon Wing. You might not know what it is. Don’t worry. Don’t worry at all. I will tell you. It is amazing.
It’s a long, thick cord. The dangly, dangly part is attached to a different cord with a hook on it and a grip to pull. So, they strap you to the end of this cord and the other cord starts to ratchet you up until you are three hundred feet above ground. You are pulled back and looking at the ground. You have the ripcord in your hand, and you jerk it and the dangly, dangly part breaks free of the hook that pulled you up here and you swing.
It is like flying. You drop for a long time then the cord pulls you in a swoop and you are soaring. Absolutely soaring. This is not the kind of thing I would ever, under any circumstances do ever. Too high, too uncontrolled. Too insane.
But when she told me she wanted to do it, I knew I was going to do it before she even told me what it was. It was going to happen. With your ticket you get free passes all day long to every ride in the place. But that does not include the Dragon Wing. You have to pay extra for it. I dropped the fifty dollars and we were strapped in. We got to ride it together. Bound to one another and staring at each other. The hook pulled us up and my heart started pounding. Fear crawled up my spine and I started freaking out.
She held the cord and when the horn blew loudly to let us know that the time had come, she asked me if I was ready.
But with her I was ready for all of it. I was ready for college. I was ready to get married. I was ready to be a father. I was ready to be a man.
I was ready for the giant hole in me to be filled up. I just knew that when I married her that hollow place that echoed with every step would be gone. She would fill it finally, and I would be fine. I would be complete.
She pulled the cord after me being awake for twenty-seven hours and we dropped. I screamed. She screamed and when the ground rushed up to meet us, we flew past it. We soared out into the air, out over the park. I could see all of it. I could see the entire park and everyone in it when I swung out, but in the face of all of that, I looked at her.
I grabbed her and kissed her as we peaked and swung back. As the world rushed from behind us, I kissed her. I was flying with the one person who had ever known me, who had ever been mine. I kissed her sensually and perfectly, then she laughed, and we kissed while we laughed. When we started to go back the other way, things stopped being funny again and we kissed hard and passionately one more time.
My legs had been wobbly when we got there from lack of sleep, but by the time we got off, I was fine. Had never been so awake, and we talked about closing the place down. Let’s stay for six hours. Fuck it then we could go home and make love again. We weren’t even starting to get tired.
Adrenaline will do that.
It started to hit us hard after about twenty minutes. And then began the dance of adrenaline. Every time we were falling over, exhausted, we would get on a ride. The line was hell. We were falling down but when we got on the ride we woke up. We felt the surge of emotion and bliss, then we would ride that for about twenty minutes before we were falling down in a new line.
I recommend you do it. There is no rush like the constant rush and fall of exhaustion. We would be so tired we couldn’t even talk until after the ride, then we couldn’t shut up. We drove this road until about four. Then we found a spot under a tree and decided to sit down for a minute.
There could not have been more people around. Hundreds of kids were running and yelling. This was a big jungle gym house that towered over us four stories and stretched for over two hundred feet. The kids loved this place and the parents sat on benches and at tables and ate fatty food and drank sugary drinks, and it was heaven.
We sat for a long time. Then, we laid back. Then, right there in an amusement park at four in the afternoon, me and the woman I loved just took a nap. We just slept. She grabbed her purse and folded it under her head. I laid my head on the ground beside her and we looked at each other, staring the other in the eye as sleep overtook us.
I was not comfortable in crowds. Never had been. When there was a woman around, Guardian was on edge and standing guard. All of these things were so true. Truer than anything, but it didn’t matter.
See, none of it mattered when we were together. The world just spun, and we did what we wanted. There was no wrong, because we were always right. There were no bad ideas, because we could make it work no matter what happened. We slept in that amusement park for about an hour before waking up and walking away.
It was five. I still hadn’t reached my budget. I had grabbed three hundred dollars for this trip, and I didn’t plan on putting any of it back. I spent about one hundred and I told her I was buying her two hundred dollars’ worth of souvenirs. She balked but I insisted.
I told her we could buy anything she wanted. Anything in the whole place. She walked the shops and stopped at this one spot. Right out in front of this shop that had little glass bottles of odd shapes with weird curves and swoops. There were bins filled with fine sands. The sands varied in color all across the spectrum. She stared at it lovingly and started to walk away.
“Hey, you want this?” I asked.
“We don’t have to,” she said. It was more of a whisper than anything else.
“Why, you want to make one, don’t you?”
“I have wanted to make one every time I came here, but no one would wait long enough to let me finish one. They always said it was boring and they would not stay long enough for me to do it.” She sighed. “Look, we don’t have to make one of these if you don’t want to.”
I grabbed her face and I kissed her. “We are not leaving this spot until you have made one of these little bottles of sand. I am patient, baby. Don’t test me. Get to work now or this is where we stay.”
I was joking around. She was not. She fought back tears and nodded as she slowly picked a tiny bottle and started filling it with different colors of sand. Watching her work on this bottle was heartbreaking. She had wanted to make one of these things for so long. She had wanted one from the first time she had ever come to this park, and she’d been here at least a dozen times in her life. I watched her slowly, reluctantly moving her hands across the colors and I kissed the top of her head.
“Take your time. I’ll stand here all day. Make exactly what you want. And as many as you want. If you want ten, let’s do it.”
She murmured okay, and she kept moving. I would have stood there as long as she wanted. She kept looking up at me, and I kept waiting.
In the end she made a little guy. He has two googly eyes, a body filled with streaks of different colored sands and a cork with a bit of a green poof. We have it in our room. I see it every night, and I think to myself, her family and friends loved her. They loved her and they wanted to make her happy. But none of them waited for her.
It takes, well, it takes a soulmate to see when things are this important. It takes that person who can understand you, who has learned you, and knows this little bit of a little thing is powerful. It was in that moment I knew without a doubt that I was the only person in the world who could make this woman happy. And that was a responsibility I would gladly take on for the rest of my life.
We stumbled out of that park and I had way too much money in my pocket. She had her bottle and I had forced her to get a tee shirt. We drove home and when we got there, we were so tired that we didn’t have it in us to sit in a restaurant. We were so tired that we just wanted to go home, but we had no food at the apartment, and we were starving.
We had our first living room picnic. We bought a bucket of KFC and we laid a blanket on the floor and laughed as we ate our fill. To this day, it is my favorite meal. We have done this quite a few times. We get a blanket and a bucket of KFC and we sit in the living room and eat.
After we were done that night we went to bed. We did not make love, but we did talk. We talked all night in our sleep. I woke up at some points just enough to know I was laughing at some phantom thing she said in her sleep in response to some phantom thing I said to her.
I ran to the bathroom once because I was laughing so hard.
I gave her a wedgie when I came back to bed. In our sleep we talked all night. In English and in French, even though I don’t know that language.
More on that another time. But remember this here. This entire chapter.
Things are about to get terrible. It is all falling down around us. They are about to break us in a way that will not heal for a long time. About to turn Shadow on her.
But right here in this spot, where they are so exhausted they can’t move, but at the same time so in love they are enjoying each other in their sleep, remember this. Think about this image and this moment when it falls down and we drop into hell.
It is the only thing that will keep you reading.
It was the only thing that kept me alive.