“Please buckle your seatbelt and prepare for takeoff,” a deep voice says, “Initiating launch sequence.” Then the countdown begins and we are launched up into a vortex of bright, flashing red, orange, white and yellow lights. BEEP, BEEP! BEEP, BEEP! Whenever a light flashes, I hear a beeping sound as if someone is pressing buttons to start the rocket. Whoosh! My stomach churns as a loud suctioning noise fills my ears. Then, it stops, and now a black blanket is enveloping me. I wrap my hands into fists around the metal bar in front of me until my hand burns. Still, it is nothing compared to the pace my heart is beating at.
All of a sudden, our spaceship stops in midair. There is no light except for the tiny luminescent bulbs that are spread out around the room, like stars in space. I reach out to touch them. They seem so close, yet, when I extend my arm, I find that they are out of my reach. I look down at my lap. There is nothing there but darkness. The soft white glow isn’t sufficient to see where we are on the rollercoaster. The ride is still. I have no idea how high off the ground I am sitting; but that is the thrill of it. I wonder what is to come next.
Everyone is quiet. The only sounds to be heard are the deep breaths from the people behind me. It is as if the smallest movement will tip the seats over. Tch.Tch.Tch.Tch. The ride has started and we are traveling through the stars in a dark tunnel without any boundaries! I am sitting in the front seat. The ride is traveling straight at a fast, but constant speed. The lights are very close to my face and I reflexively squeeze my eyes shut, and push my head far back into the seat to keep them from touching my nose, but the sudden instinct isn’t necessary. We make a sharp turn right before my head hits the wall. I squeal with delight. The rest of the ride is made up of various twists and turns. We go up very high and then, unexpectedly, we swoop straight down. Aaaaaaaaah! Screams fill the vast darkness, and others are paralyzed with fear. My cap almost falls off my head and my hand jerks up to grab it, but before I get the chance to do so, we are level again. I catch my breath with slow, heavy pants and rest my head in my hands. I can no longer feel my legs, but I know a smile is stretched across my face as we enter the colorful vortex once again.
I lift my head up and look around. It felt like a dream but my messy hair and wide eyes are proof that it really happened. Is space really such a mystery? The ride is over but it feels as if it had just begun. I have an urge to keep traveling through the blackness, where all I am certain of is that we are moving. I laugh at the thought. I have always been afraid of the dark and unknown. I unbuckle my seatbelt and steady myself. The ride has made me dizzy. When I regain my balance, I rush to the back of the line, eager to uncover the mysteries of space once again.