Saturday 24 June 2023

'I Once Swallowed a Rollercoaster' by Katie Holloway

It’s not something I set out to do; it just felt right at the time. It was a sun-swollen June day and the kids were all at school. I snuck off after shoe-trudge-grumbling them up the hill and paid full price at the gate for one adult ticket. In the queue I sipped at the suncream-heavy air and licked the anticipation off my fingers.

Before I knew it, the foamed barriers were locking me tight into the sweaty plastic seat and I relished how tightly they swaddled me. The click-click-click as we collectively mounted the world sent a thrill through me I hadn’t felt for years and then - joy! I screamed at the delight of falling, free, spread my fingers wide as the wind rushed through them and didn’t ask anything of me.

When the coaster ground to a halt and the restraints lifted off our shoulders, before the disappointment set in, I simply gobbled it up. I waited for the other passengers to get off, of course. Then, I opened my mouth wide and in three or four gulps swallowed the whole thing. It was lumpy on the way down, and tasted oddly of salt and vinegar crisps.

Now, on the days when I get out of bed and my limbs feel heavy like I've just got out of a swimming pool, and when the demands pile on top of me like laundry, I take a deep breath and feel it inside me. The track supports jut under my ribs and I feel a banked turn cupping my heart, a sunshine of delights, my swallowed blessing.

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