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My Day with The Red Dragon

Updated on May 11, 2015

"Empathy is first of all an act of imagination, a storyteller's art, and then a way of traveling from here to there. What is it like to be the old man silenced by a stroke, the young man facing the executioner, the woman walking across the border, the child on the roller coaster?" -Rebecca Solnit

I decided to describe the life of the child on the roller coaster:

I saw The Red Dragon as my father and I exited his big blue truck. He took my hand and guided me to the park's entrance. Once we entered, my eyes lit up. This was my very first time being in an amusement park. I didn't know what to expect from this magical place, but I knew it was special because my father knew about it and he knows everything.

We toured the place. I saw clowns, teddy bears, and other colorful toys displayed throughout the park. I glanced up at the sky and there stood The Red Dragon. It had to be one billion feet wide and a thousand inches long. There were many twists and turns, but the striking feature was the fire. I've never heard of The Red Dragon before this day, but it definitely captured my heart. I needed to know more about this strange attraction.

My father was trying to win me a purple teddy bear at the basketball station. I tugged on his shirt and made him miss the shot. He shot me a what-did-i-tell-you-about-pulling-on-my-shirt glare. I gave him an apologetic glance and turned to it, The Red Dragon. I couldn't contain my excitement; I wanted, no needed, to ride this monstrous creature.

Once more, I tugged on my father's shirt and pointed at the ride. He lifted me into his arms and carried me to the corn dog stand. He purchased two; one for me and one for him. The corn dog didn't last a minute in his hand. My father always knew how to scarf down his meals; well, at least, that's what my mother always said.

He tried to offer me the corn dog, but I refused. I didn't want to eat. I wanted to ride. I ferociously pointed to The Red Dragon.

My father's eyes followed my fingers. He gazed at the red monster in the sky. It was obvious that he was amazed by this contraption. His eyes met mine and he chuckled. "You're too young for that. Don't you want to ride the carousel?"

"I don't want to ride the carousel!" I pouted. My father didn't understand that The Red Dragon and I bonded. We were one from the moment I saw it.

"I want to ride The Red Dragon!" I screamed.

My father took my corn dog and bit into it. His glare was locked on The Red Dragon. I couldn't tell what he was thinking while he behold the red monster. For a few precious moments, we watched it. The riders screamed as the monster took them on a whirlwind of twists and turns.

I squeezed my father's hand and we strolled to The Red Dragon's line. We waited forever to get to front of the line. My father and one of the workers helped me step onto the seat. Once seated, the bars lowered over my head and locked me in.

Within moments, the ride started. First, the monster took us through a dark tunnel and then the sun stood in front of me. The fifty foot drop appeared before us after the series of twists and turns. As we approached sudden death, my heart began to pound. Both sides of the drop contained blazing fire.

I couldn't contain my fear. My father clutched my hand. "We're going to be okay," he reassured me. The ride crept to the top of the hill and paused. It tilted so everyone could see the bottom of the hill. I squeezed my father's hand as the ride sped downward.

That day, my heart flew out of my chest, tears poured out of my eyes like rain, and my lungs tightened as all the air left my body.

Before the air came back into my body, The Red Dragon finished his terror. Once the ride stopped, my father lifted me out of the seat. He strolled away from the ride, while I clung to his neck for my life. We exited the park and I never saw The Red Dragon again.


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