Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life Then - The 50's, Part 5

"My pants had a hole in them yesterday. Did you know about that?" Denny asked when he called me the next day. "Oh crap," I thought. (I said "Oh crap" in front of my grandmother once and she took me aside and asked me if I knew what 'crap' meant. "It means fecal matter," she said with a painful expression on her face. Ladies don't refer to 'fecal matter'." My grandmother the school teacher. I think of her often now that my language is apt to be sprinkled with even more explicit references to 'fecal matter'. But she would have been proud of the restraint I used in my conversation with Denny. I didn't actually use the fecal matter word. I just thought it, but I did think in it a BIG way.) I figured I was in big trouble now. I had to admit that I had seen the hole. "Yes I saw the hole, but I was worried that you would be embarrassed and it would have embarrassed me to have to tell you and besides I was having a really great time with you and I didn't want the date to end and please forgive me. I'm really sorry, but I probably would do it again if I had to do it over because we were having so much fun," I was running into myself with words trying to make him see that I really liked him. "Please don't be mad at me." I finally took a minute to catch my breath and he laughed. Then he did something wonderful and asked me for another date

There was an amusement park up the coast a bit. It was right on the beach and was very popular with the younger crowd. Now I have to be honest with you here. I had had enough scary rides with the doctors, the hospital, and the drugs they pumped into me to last me a life time. Scary rides in an amusement park weren't something I would normally go seeking. But I was young, on the verge of falling in love for the first time, and worried about Denny liking me. So when he asked if I would like to go to the new amusement park I answered enthusiastically.

The park was very exciting to look at. There were lights every where, interesting people to watch, rides everywhere, booths to play games, and a lovely boardwalk along the beach. When we first arrived we just held hands and walked among the people and absorbed the sights and smells. Then we came face to face with IT. It was big, beautiful, and noisy. Obviously, it was very popular. There was a long line of people waiting to get the chance to ride on IT and everywhere there was screaming, yelling, laughing and an over abundance of excitement. Everywhere except inside of me. Inside I was screaming, "Oh crap, oh crap" regardless of what my grandmother would have thought. I glanced at Denny's face and I could see that he was as fascinated as the rest of the crowd. He turned and smiled at me and I knew that he was going to suggest that we stand in that line and I knew that I was going to have to swallow my reluctance and get on that monster. IT was a roller coaster! The biggest, brightest, loudest roller coaster that I had ever seen in my life. Just how far should a girl go to impress a boy she really likes? Frankly, today I would consider a roller coaster just a tad over the line, but at that time in my life it would have been virtually impossible for me to tell him that I really didn't want to ride that monster. So the tickets were purchased and we went and stood hand in hand waiting for our turn to be thrown into a realm of terror. I kept a smile on my face and tried to impress Denny with my calm demeanor. It must have worked because he didn't once ask me if I had second thoughts. He really believed that we were going to ride the monster together laughing and screaming like very one else. He had no idea who he was asking to be his roller coaster partner. Frankly, I didn't either, but I was soon to find out. My heart skipped a beat when I got into the car and sat down, but I did the thing that I always did when the pain was to much too bear. I repeated over and over inside my head, "This will soon be over. You'll make it through this.". And all the while I kept a smile on my face. Hey, it always worked to get me to the other side of the pain and I had no reason to believe that it wouldn't work to get me to the other side of a roller coaster.

As our car slowly started to move I almost had myself convinced that this was going to be easy, maybe even fun. The car chugged and rattled slowly up the first incline and I held his hand and my breath at the same time. The closer we got to the top of the incline the tighter I held his hand. He looked over at me once and smiled the most beautiful smile and I remember thinking how that smile was worth this reckless thing that I was about to do. To soon we were at the top of the incline. There was a brief pause and all a sudden we started down and I remember thinking that I was going to die. The breath was whipped out of me and as I struggled to continue to live everything went oops daisy, inside out, over under and that is the last thing that I remember until the car we were riding in stopped. I came back to the world with Denny yelling in my ear that he needed help because I had fainted on top of him and he couldn't move his left arm and his side was killing him from having to take the jerks and turns and my fainted body weight all through the 'long, miserable ride", (those were Denny's words). They called someone to come over and take a look at me, but I knew what the trouble was. I had forgotten to breath. I have had some embarrassing moments in my life, but I will always remember that as one of the primo moments.

One of the nicest things about Denny was no matter how unhappy he was for the moment he soon forgave me whatever disgraceful thing I had done. Fainting on a roller coaster and damaging the whole left side of his body was certainly enough to warrant him taking me home, but he didn't. We spent a few uncomfortable moments while he got the kinks out of his side and I cleared my head and then we went on to have a great second date. But he never again asked me if I wanted to try one of the rides, and I tried really hard to make certain that I kept breathing regularly. Except when he took me home and kissed me once again.

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