That day we had nothing to do, so my dad suggested we take the kids to Six Flags. I thought it might be fun to go with Katie and Joey, who were turning 5. Normally when I used my season pass I went with my girlfriend Haley or with my brother Thomas. I didn’t think it was so bad going with my dad.
It’s been a few years, and I don’t really remember much about the excursion at all except for being in line for some car ride. I remember sliding forward in line along the railing while Katie and Joey were fighting over who got to ride in my car. My dad was talking to me about moving out for college at the end of the summer- I had just graduated. As I looked over towards the front of the line, I saw the guy working the ride. He was so attractive.
I met eyes with him briefly before he started counting people as they passed the gate. My eyes studied the way he moved. I was captivated by his eyes and the way he talked and moved his lips. Even the way he stood. Everything about him I wanted to know. As we walked forward in line, I was still looking at him.
Suddenly my eyes snapped towards the floor. I examined the sidewalk crack with quick, thorough deliberate precision. I could feel my cheeks flushing. Mechanically I started thinking of a horrendous monster. I pictured its fangs and ugly face. In my mind it was clawing my head. Blood was everywhere. I studied the mental picture. Slowly my face cooled. My shoulders slumped. My heart rate slowed.
I looked at my dad and again the anxiousness rose in my chest. Did he notice? Did he see me notice him. Did he know what I was thinking. Oh God he saw me flush. He must have seen it. Katie was tugging on my shirt. I picked her up and held her. I turned around, walking backwards in line so that my back was to the guy working the machine. Megan was between me and my dad. I put her face between me and his line of vision.
“Uh, huh,” I said, “Of course it’ll be different.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I shifted my legs. My arm was shaking. I turned my head slightly, still hiding behind Katie, but allowing myself a quick glance towards the guy. He was looking at me.
God I know my dad saw me look again. Why didn’t he say anything? Why is still talking? He hates me. He saw me look. He knows.
That is S.S.A.
I think most disturbing thing about that memory for me now is how vividly and exactly I remember every detail about the scene. I remember the feel of the railing in my hand, what I was wearing, how my dad’s hair looked, where we were in line, what the park smelled like, the color of the car we rode in. I remember everything except for one thing. I can’t remember what the guy’s face looked like. I remember his uniform, how tall he was, his build. But when I replay the memory in the VCR of my mind, all I see is a blur where is face should be. Everything else is sharp.