“I’m in a jewelry store looking at a wedding ring the size of three or four paychecks/and in walks the girl next door/I say, ‘I do.’/funny how fast things change”

Closing weekend at the park was weird; the weather was awful. Cold, wind, and rain pretty much all weekend. I didn’t know it at the time, but my last ride of the season on Maggie was Saturday night. It was a good ride, but it didn’t give me the closure that I get from being on the last train of the season. I missed the bitter-sweetness of hearing the train’s click-click-click before it drops off the lift one last time, and the awkward, eerie silence at the top of the second hill, and the gathering on the exit ramp and the goodbyes and the see-you-next-seasons. And then another part of me missed being in the control booth under the hot pink fluorescent light, using half my body weight to press my callused thumb down just hard enough on the dispatch button, tearing up as a train full of strangers I’ve grown to love passes the curved plexiglass in front of me. It all sounds so silly–especially as I look back and read what I just typed–but that ride and that park are a bigger part of my life than a lot of people would understand. And I think what made closing day feel so “off” this year also had a lot to do with Randy not being there. Leaving the Soak City lot before the park even closed on Sunday evening, I spent a good thirty seconds just staring back at the park, remembering about the same time last year when he was too sick to ride. I remembered the texts I had sent him in April after I heard he wasn’t doing well. I told him I couldn’t wait to see him on opening day. He told me that he hoped he would be there. The next morning, I found out he was gone. We did the tribute ride for him on opening day, but I guess it just would have been nice to have done the same on Sunday. The season feels incomplete.

ImageDespite the park’s letdowns, I still had a fantastic weekend–one that I am thankful for and one that I did not want to end. Now I’m stuck in the lull of trying to get back into the swing of things…work, school, writing, cleaning. It’s an endless cycle lately; I tried to explain it to Ash earlier and the best I could come up with was comparing it to the crash after a high. Yet I keep putting myself through it.

There are so many things I should have done today that I didn’t. Instead, I hid from it all and ate way too much pizza. And I held my breath as I turned the corner onto my street. My mess of a room and the unpacked suitcase and the almost-entirely incomplete “to do” list written on my mirror in dry-erase marker and the pile of readings I’ve been meaning to catch up on for weeks will have to wait until tomorrow. Or the next day. Or this weekend…

On top of it all, I didn’t mean to, but I went back to late spring today. Funny how fast things change and how one night back then probably influenced so much of the past six months–how the ball was in my court and how smart it was, for once, to be passive-aggressive. How dumb it was to drive home when the city was still brand new. How, while I might not have chosen the easiest path to follow, those bad signals were the perfect signs.


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