The first roller coaster I ever rode was the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz. My brother made me test my worth and I was afraid. The cars sparkled in the summer sun and somehow I found myself in the front, a steel bar pressing me painfully to the red vinyl seat. I remember the initial climb, the heady anticipation, the crest of the first rise. I even remember the view of the ocean. But the memory of the fall sticks. The stomach-turning, elevator-dropping, thunder-rumbling fall.
Maybe I remember the ride because it was my first but perhaps it’s because the feeling of falling is so utterly familiar. So immediate and impermanent. It’s how I feel when your hands are clinging to my skin and your breath is hot on my lips.
The free-fall panic that flip-flops my insides and tornadoes my organs into one screaming, colliding, collapsing disaster of loving you.
And it always makes me think of roller coasters and warm days, sea winds and first times. Loving you is not just the climb but the freedom of the impending fall.