I was so excited. I could hardly breathe through the hour drive it took to get there. I was squished between my two ten-year-old best friends in the back seat of a white Saturn, but I didn't care. I was practicing over and over in my head what I was going to say to all the smart-alecky adults who would tell me I was too young to ride the water slides. I was simply going to reply, "Actually I'm ten, going on eleven."
On the right of me sat the girl I met in preschool, the swimmer who was named after a state like me: Tennessee. She was the observant artist. She sat there holding a deck of cards, trying to find all the queens. I could tell she was nervous. Her hands were sweating. The cards were damp and at one point they slipped from her fingers. She giggled unhappily. I looked down and realized mine were sweating too.
On my left was the girl who spoke for the three of us. She was the big cheese. Anna was without a doubt, the most daring of the three of us. She was the one who started the famous food fight of '95 in the Travis cafeteria. She told the entire school that her sister ran away to join the circus in '96,and in '97 she broke a boy's arm, wrestling. It was obvious that she was going to ride the infamous "death slide." In fact as soon as we jumped out of the car she screamed, "I'm going to ride the biggest ride at Schlitterbahn, 'The Death Slide.'"
I was still debating on whether or not to go on the newest and scariest ride of Schlitterbahn. Anna was humming "Jon Jacob," and acting like it was no big deal. Tennessee was practically shaking and saying, "Everything will be fine. I'll ride the kiddy slide." She was joking, but I knew that thought was probably going through her he...
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...The lifeguard yelled, "Keep your hands and your feet together." I sat down on the edge at the very top of the slide, he gave me a hard, fast push and I was off.
It was like sliding down a vertical stick. I had to squeeze my arms to my chest and keep my clenched feet together. I was screaming so hard, I had a sore throat the next day. But I wasn't screaming from pain or freight but excitement.
When we got to the bottom Tennessee and I were laughing and throwing up our arms in victory. Anna wasn't too happy with us at first but she got over it, though she never did go down The Death Slide that day.
I know it was just a ride in a park, but I always think about day when I'm feeling too scared to try something new. I remember what it felt like to fly down that big blue slide. I realize that I might be quiet, even invisible, but hidden inside me is a brave heart.
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