(This is a short story I entered in a contest for San Antonio’s tricentennial. I had a ton of fun writing it. This actually happened it me and it’s mostly true, but I changed a couple little things to fit the story line better! I hope you enjoy reading it.)
Finding my way through an enormous, crowded area always makes me nervous. I walked through the attractions of Six Flags Fiesta, while the moon rose up into the night sky.
I was lost. There were so many people walking past me, and I was not sure where I was, even though I had been walking around the park all day.
It was my first time coming to this amusement park because I had just moved to San Antonio. I liked it here, but it still felt a little strange and unfamiliar.
My parents were waiting in line for the Batman ride, but I had been afraid it would make me dizzy, so I had decided to go find a different ride to experience.
I began to think leaving had been a mistake. Now that I had wandered through the park, I forgot exactly how to get back to the Batman ride, even though I could see it. This place was like a labyrinth.
The speakers around me boomed with music and I could feel the pulse within me. The tempting aroma of fresh popcorn made me want to pull the cash out of my pocket and buy myself a snack.
The atmosphere hummed with excitement as kids ran around and teenagers played the carnival games. Everyone I passed had a smile on his or her face. No one was lost, except me.
On second thought, I should have brought a map with me. Maybe I should ask an employee for help, I thought.
It normally didn’t bother me to be alone while walking around an area. But when I was in Six Flags and I couldn’t see very much due to the darkness, I found myself regretting my decision to leave my family.
I looked around at all the bright lights of the rides and shops. One of the rides caught my attention. It was the swing ride, called Sky Screamer. My family and I had passed it several times that day and I had wanted to ride it, but each time we had been heading to a different ride.
Now was my chance to go try it out.
I walked through the gate. The line looped back and forth like a giant snake waiting for the ride. I would have to wait quite a while to get on, but I didn’t mind. It gave me time to figure out what I’d do after the ride was over. I would have to either ask a worker for directions or call my parents for help, which I definitely didn’t want to do.
Although I was still a little nervous, my favorite song started playing on the speakers and I forgot about my worries. I tapped my foot to the beat and lip-synced the lyrics.
The line continued to move slowly, but after a half hour or so, it was my turn to ride.
A ring of seats surrounded the thick, metal tower. I chose my seat quickly and sat down to buckle myself in.
I swung my feet back and forth. I couldn’t wait to see the view at the very top of the ride. Everything would look so tiny.
Another girl walked up to the swings. She looked about the same age as me. “May I sit here?” she asked, pointing to the seat right next to me.
“Of course,” I answered.
She set down a black backpack with a smiley face emoji on it.
“I like your bag,” I said.
The girl smiled brightly. “Thanks!” She buckled herself into the seat. A man walked around checking everyone’s buckles.
The girl looked over at me. “Are you from around here or are you visiting?” she asked.
“Actually, I just moved here,” I replied.
“Oh, I think you’ll love it in San Antonio,” she said. “I’ve lived here most of my life and it’s awesome. There’s always something new to learn about it.”
The ride started and it lifted us into the air. As we rose, the ride started to spin. At first it was slow, but it accelerated until I felt like I was flying over the theme park.
I grinned as the wind whipped around me. Everything on the ground grew small as we ascended.
It only took a few moments to reach the very top. Although the sky was black, I could see hundreds of dazzling lights spread out around us. They stretched for as far as the eye could see, like a sea of polka dots. The headlights and taillights of cars driving across the city created a river-like flow below us.
“Whoa, that’s so cool!” I exclaimed.
“I know, right?” the girl said. “This is my favorite ride to go on at night. It’s like you can see the whole city.”
Not only that, but the whole theme park flashed and glowed, too. Together, all of it made for an impressive scene. I wanted to stay up there forever and watch all the shining lights. I stared at them, amazed. I felt as if each of the lights was a new opportunity. Who knew what would happen in my time living in San Antonio? I smiled.
I continued to watch the glittering lights until the ride began to descend.
I turned to the girl. “Well, it was fun to ride with you! That was an amazing view.”
“Yeah,” she agreed, smiling. “It was wonderful to meet you.”
The ride slowed, but before it came to a stop, I had an idea. “Hey, how do you get to the Batman ride?” I asked.
The girl gave me directions to the ride and I listened carefully. Once she was done, I said, “Thanks so much! Have fun the rest of the night!”
She grinned. “I will. Thanks!”
I walked through the gate and skipped in the direction she had told me to go.
I wasn’t lost anymore.
As I headed to go find my family, I knew one thing: I would never forget that moment at the top of the swings, when I made a friend and we looked out on all of San Antonio’s sparkling lights.
The ride had been short, but the sight it had given me had shifted my perspective on San Antonio. It wasn’t an unfamiliar place anymore. It was a land where I could make new friends and my dreams could come to life. It was a city to explore and learn about. The lights had shown me the beauty of the San Antonio.
I had found my new home.