In Mason, OH there is a roller coaster park called Kings Island, which houses a handful of record-breaking thrill rides. The new rides wind through the sprawling property’s walkways, above and around booths, and near the older and clunkier rides. Most of these coasters, however, have levels of wooden boardwalk paths and stairs.
My mom recently left a job at a place that had only one perk: every summer the company hosts a picnic at Kings Island and treats employees and their families to a (mostly) free day at Kings Island. We were able to take advantage of this perk for a few summers until mom found her new job. Mom usually got four tickets so she could take all her daughters. Once at Kings Island, we would split up: Brittany and me; Mom and Savannah. This way, we each could take the rides that suited us.
Recently, I’ve started paying closer attention to the sound of things. While at Brown’s Bog I felt distinctly aware of myself. That is, I felt out of place as we walked on the boardwalk towards the bog itself. I have this habit of clinging to those close to me: a hand or a linked arm often suffices to give me the grounding and connection I flounder for. The clunk clunk clunk of our feet as we walked echoed my memories of walking hand in hand with Brittany to our next roller-coaster. Despite being surrounded by the class, the trees, the flora, the noise, I felt lost and alone. There was a moment when this feeling hit me completely for the first time, that I looked around, expecting to find someone I could latch on to, someone I could consider home. But, of course, there is no one close enough.
Tiny, Brittany walks like an elephant, but her feet don’t carry the same depth as a group of 20. But this is barely an issue. Most often, Brittany and I would walk a boardwalk with a couple of people beyond or behind, so the resonance is close enough. And as the class went hammering along on the boardwalk I couldn’t help but think: how loud, how rude.