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Lexy Cooper
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"Reaching For..."

Zoey Tiefenthaler

Too late to turn back now, I thought. They started to harness me, wrapping me in a purple harness with pink, yellow, and orange stripes. “Are you ready?” they asked. “Yes,” I responded warily.


Whether I was actually ready or not didn’t matter. I had decided hours before that today, I would face my fear and would not back out, no matter what emotions I encountered. The workers did their final checks to make sure the harness would not break then lifted us into the air. The purple harness wrapped around our bodies became tighter and the thin rope holding us up looked as if it might snap at any moment. As the rope raised us into the dark sky, my emotions took over. My feet tingled, my hands dripped with sweat, and I found myself holding back a few tears of fear. I tried to block out the panic that arose, so I closed my eyes. 


After an eternity, we reached the top. A whopping 180 feet up in the air. As I opened my eyes, fear shot through every part of my body. I was wrapped in a harness hanging by a thin rope hoisted high in the air. My feet became numb and my breathing came to a halt. I thought about all the things that could go wrong. What if the cord snapped? What if the harness broke? What if one of us fell out? And the most important question: why did I do this? These thoughts raced through my mind as I dangled in the air, flinching at every sound. Then I remembered that I had to face my fear to reach my goal, and worrying would only make it worse.


To calm myself down, I decided to focus on anything but the negative thoughts. As I looked down upon the fair like an airplane flying over a big city at night, I realized the incredible opportunity I had—the ability to view this amazing sight. The view of the lights from each ride, the children smiling and laughing, and the big lit-up sign that read “Valley Fair” left me speechless. The scent of fried funnel cakes and freshly squeezed lemonade seeped into my nose, calming me down. As a big grin took over my face, my fear turned into nothing but excitement. However, it did not last long.


Within a few seconds, a male's voice said “three,” over the loudspeaker. All of the fear and panic came rushing back in an instant. The countdown had started. Three seconds until I jolted through the air flying fast and high. “Two,” he yelled. I couldn’t calm myself down. A tear fell from my face. “One!” My arms and legs locked, every muscle in my body tightened, and I forgot how to move. Fear paralyzed me.  But I knew I had to pull the rip cord. I reached over and grabbed the small yellow cord. Wrapping my hand around it I gave it a small tug. With only a little movement, it sent me flying through the air. My heart pounded as my body became numb again. I looked over at my white knuckles still gripping the ripcord. I became dizzy. As I closed my eyes, the wind beat against my face. 


After a few seconds, when I knew that I probably wouldn’t die, I opened my eyes. Everything flashed and spun around me. My body, going too fast to read the sign or make out the blobs below me, tingled with numbness. The 65 miles an hour turned into 100 and all lights blurred together. The fear turned into adrenaline and panic into joy. I soared through the air, flying, while the wind whipped my face. Stinging me, it blew my hair in circles turning them into knots. My limbs started to circulate blood again and my senses came back to me. I flared my arms imagining myself as a plane, and my fears flew away beside me.

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