Friday, November 27, 2015

Thirty Days to Thirty (Excerpt) by Courtney Psak

Excerpt 4
“That wasn’t so bad, right?” he says to me once we’ve gotten off the ride and are now walking towards the exit.
I stare at him while holding a bunch of paper towels to my mouth. When I got off the coaster, everyone jumped like I was a zombie about to attack them. One mother even ran away with her kid. The snot-nosed teenager pulled a bunch of paper towels out from behind his stand.
“Happens to one in every five people,” he says, not really caring.
“Come on, you were having fun until you cracked your face.”
I can’t help but smile a bit, even though it hurts. “I have to admit, that was a lot of fun.” I laugh, trying to smooth my hair out. “Oh my gosh, what a thrill. I’m still shaking.”
“Oh, this I gotta see,” he says, stopping me in front of a shed.
“What’s this?”
“Oh, they take your pictures on every roller coaster and you can choose to buy it or not.”
“They take pictures of you?” I say. “That has to be the cruelest thing I’ve ever heard of.”
“Oh, nice.” He starts laughing. I scan through the photos on the monitors until I find us. Chris is making a goofy face and smiling while I have my mouth as wide open as it can go, and full of blood. Seriously, you can see my tonsils in this picture. Then I see my eyes are popping out of my skull.
“Oh my gosh, this is horrible,” I say, putting my head down afraid someone might recognize me.
“I’d like to purchase that, please,” he says, pulling out his wallet from his back pocket.
“Why would you do this to me?” I ask him while tugging on his arm.
“Because it’s too good,” he says, putting the money down and taking the picture from the man. He opens up the folder one more time to show me before closing it again. I make a face of disgust.
“I appreciate your sympathy,” I tell him.
“For you,” he says, handing the photo to me.
“Why did you get this for me?” I ask, confused. I figured my bitching made it clear I never wanted to see this again.
“Because it’s a memory of your first ever roller coaster. It’s a very important feat.”
“Sure.” I laugh, looking at it again.
“Don’t you feel just a little more confident now?” he says, putting his arm around me again.
“You know something, I do,” I tell him. “Hell, I’m even going to go as far as posting this on my blog tonight.”
“I will see that you do,” he says. “So are you tired now?”
“Exhausted, actually, this day really took it out of me. Not to mention my gums are bleeding.”
“Well, you did what you came here to do. Now let’s go home.”
We say our good-byes to Liz and Tim who are trying to get their kids to willingly leave the park and head towards Chris’s car.
“So I know this sounds strange,” I say, buckling my seat belt. “But I still feel like I don’t know you all that well.”
“Really?” he says, surprised as he starts the car and we drive away.
“I know that seems stupid. I mean, I know your childhood, I know what you do now, but it’s like there is this big ten-year gap that I don’t really know anything about.”
“Well, when you put it that way, I guess I could say the same for you,” he says. “What do you want to know?”
I want to ask why he’s still living at home, but something keeps me from asking that, at least right away. “Is your favorite color still red?” I start with.
He laughs for a second. “That’s what concerns you with this ten-year gap? That my favorite color has changed?”
“I don’t know,” I laugh.
“Well, you’re right. My favorite color is now yellow. And the minute I came to that realization, I have to say something, my whole life changed. It’s like my life flashed before me and I realized that if I didn’t change my favorite color my whole life was doomed.”
I burst out laughing and he does as well. “Okay, your turn. You can ask me.”
“Hmm,” he thinks for a second. “I pretty much know a lot more than you think, because you really spilled your guts to me that first night,” he laughs.
I roll my eyes.
“I guess, um,” he starts to think again. I notice that his face turns serious.
“Why did we break up in the first place?” he says, looking at me.
I feel my face get hot and I shift in my seat. “I don’t know, we were kids really, we didn’t know what we wanted,” I start. “I guess it was mainly because our lives were going in separate directions, you know, off to different colleges …” I trail off.
“Really? It didn’t have to do with me being a slacker?”
“I’d say more of me being a workaholic.”
He smiles as if I’m saying that to be nice, but to me it was the truth. The rest of the ride is pretty silent.
“All right, well, here we are,” he says pulling up to my driveway. “Thanks for inviting me,” he says.
“Thanks for coming,” I reply. “I would’ve never ridden that scary thing without you.” I give him a quick pat on the knee and jump out the car. I panicked since I don’t know how to react with him, especially when we are saying our good-byes. Normally I would kiss him on the cheek, but I was nervous he’d view that wrong. When I get inside, I shake my head at myself.

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