I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done it. I’ve never lost the pit in my stomach.
Equal parts thrilling and terrifying – the wind pressing against your face; the force against your body from all sides; your eyes forced almost closed and yet being pulled open at once. Feeling a tear or two at their corners. Cold metal in your hands, your fingers clenched as tightly as they go. Sound screaming past your ears, its sources moving so rapidly around you that it itself paints the kaleidoscopic vision swirling around your body that you can’t see with your eyes.
The times that haunt me though – the times that stick in my mind and replay in my dreams – are the times I’m reaching for something I can’t grab hold of. I don’t think I’ll ever escape those relivings.
They make sense as a dream; after all, they’re pretty classic nightmare material. But my nightmares are reruns of real experiences. Feeling the terror of that speed, that power; how small and weak I am against it; and seeing relief flash by me, trying to reach for it but my arm sluggish and lead-like. It’s close enough to touch and yet my arm can’t move. I try to re-grip the bar, panick welling; steeling myself for one more orbit. Surely I can catch hold when it comes around again. My blurred vision just barely able to locate it ahead as I circle around. Another titan effort and my hand comes into view, but laughably slow. Laughably far. Safety disappears again in a rush and I feel gravity’s strength redouble its efforts and my heart plummets and my fingers are slipping…
And the merry-go-round spins on.