English / It'S Not Too Cold If You Just Jump In

It'S Not Too Cold If You Just Jump In

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Autor:  anton  30 November 2010
Words: 1030   |   Pages: 5
Views: 280

Nothing could match the sheer excitement of walking into a hotel at the beginning of a family vacation. There was so much to do; pools a few degrees too cold in which to swim, sibling races in the long hallways to be won, little sticker-sealed toiletries in the bathroom basket to be stolen, and dangerous caverns to jump across in between beds—fun and new experiences were everywhere. All this enjoyment was overshadowed only by the promise of going out to a new city, a new town, a new place. The Six Flags Lodge I arrived at is the on-site accommodation for the Six Flags theme park, yet the hotel seemed just as “themed.” Stone walls with mounted game clash with tile floors and bare full log rafters and supports stand out a bit too much, but not as much as the gaudy plastic moose antler chandelier in the center of the room. The faux-rustic atmosphere felt cold despite the floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the center of the room. I was not excited.

I would have come with my family two days earlier, but I had to work to make extra money. The elevator door closed with a swift but satisfying “whoosh,” and made its way to the third floor. After languidly meandering down the hallway, I entered the room that in which I reluctantly had to pay to stay. On top of that I too had to purchase my entrance into the park, all with money I would had rather spent on my mounting credit card debt.

My father immediately greeted me both with a “howdy” and his trademark nod, one I tried so hard to mimic as a child. Before I could respond I was already on defense against a bum-rush hug from my five year old brother, Max, who was screaming my name and whose shower capped head was headed directly for my groin. After squeezing me with all of his little might, he showed me how strong he was by lifting me up to the tips of my toes and gave me a few well-aimed high fives. He had been practicing.

Politely declining an invitation to leap across the divide in between beds, I turned my attention to the homemade chicken fingers my step mother was famous for. They were one of the few things I liked about her. She always made me feel guilty for not visiting enough, for not being a bigger part of my brother’s life, yet she never contacted me unless she needed babysitting. When, a few days prior, she called to ask if I wanted to go on a family vacation to Six Flags, I gladly accepted. Roller coasters and hanging out with my family sounded like a good time, the thought of which was later dampened by the notification from my step mother I would “only have to pay seventy dollars.” Her invitation seemed to have little of the “family” in family vacation. To her, it was more a “you entertain my son while I sit on a park bench and eat “Dippin’ Dots, the Ice Cream of the Future” vacation.

At the park the following day my brother and I set out to conquer Six Flags. We laughed in victory at the man who could not correctly guess Max’s weight to within three pounds and collected our bounty; we argued our way onto roller coasters for which Max was just a little too short; we threw undersized rings hoping to land them on oversized bottle necks; we rode the rotating swings enough time to grace every single seat; we milked the fun out of every second.

Later that night we all went to Six Flag’s famed laser light and firework show. While the parents stayed towards the back, Max and I made our way through the crowd to get a closer seat and a better view. Though the show was both spectacular and visually stimulating, Max passed out in my lap within the first few minutes. I didn’t blame the kid, I was also exhausted. As I sat watching the show, I felt the shallow up and down of Max’s breathing and I was inspired. I was not inspired by the lasers or by the fireworks, but by the moment. I realized something—I realized that Family vacations are for children, and I was no longer a child.

I was exhausted, and I had only been there for one single day. My step mother had been already for three. No wonder she needed my help—I wouldn’t be able to keep up with this kid for that long. Max quivered and jolted to the thunderous roar of the spectacle in the sky, and I understood that the vacation was not for me. It was for him. I was lucky just to have the moment to bond with the little guy. No amount of money is too much for this.

After the show I picked up Max’s rag-doll body and started to carry him back to the hotel. The sidewalk looked like a runway, lit with small lights that shimmered off the neighboring lake. Max was heavy, and my arm was numb and quickly being followed by my entire left side. He wasn’t a baby anymore. I had no choice but to coax him to consciousness and have him walk by my side. He wanted to hold my hand, and that made me smile.

We entered the lobby and boarded the elevator that closed with the satisfying “swoosh.” On the way up Max challenged me to a race down the hallway. I responded only with the trademark nod of my father. He answered with the same, except he was better at it. The elevator door opened and we were off. I don’t know if I let him win or if I was so exhausted that he did win. Either way it didn’t matter, I still feigned the agony of defeat just to get a rise out of him. He tried to console me by offering me the sticker-sealed treasure he stole from the basket in the bathroom, and asked if I wanted to go swimming in the pool that he promised “isn’t too cold if you just jump in.”

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