I never really liked the rain, never cared much for the smell of wet grass and dirt or being soggy and cold at the same time, and let’s just say that my hair and humidity do not get along with each other. But one day forever changed the way that I feel about rain.
I had never been to Dorney Park before, or if I’d ever gone, it was a time before my memory had matured, so I can’t recall anything… Because it was Friday, May 13th, I consider it more than happenstance that the unlucky class of 2017 was to have its only field trip to be on a day that was raining. Weather reports throughout the whole week said that it would rain, but when we arrived at the park, I saw all of my classmates taking off their jackets and stashing them in their drawstring bags as if the looming rain clouds would have mercy on us for being unprepared. I couldn’t wait to get into the amusement park. I was thrilled to go on any and every ride, but my friends were less than enthusiastic to go on the roller coasters.
Nonetheless, I dragged them into line for our first ride. We filled the hour-long wait with trivial conversation and asked each other if we were laughers or screamers when it came to roller coasters, and I fell in the category of screamer, or at least I thought I did. It had been so long since I went on an actual roller coaster that I couldn’t say for sure.
The rain ironically held out right until it was our turn for Talon. We sat in puddles of water that had amassed in the uncomfortable plastic chairs. As we crawled inch by inch up the coaster, its creaky wooden frame wobbled, and rain started falling like hail onto our faces. We plummeted down the rollercoaster, and the raindrops pelted our faces even harder. I could barely keep my eyes open in the blinding, pitiless rain. The uneasy feeling of weightlessness coupled with the slightest fear of the rollercoaster breaking mid-run accumulated until I could do nothing but scream. I threw my hands in the air as we sped down the slope. I heard my friends, Neha, Vandana, Anna, Stephanie and Justice, shrieking, cackling, and even crying; my screams turned into laughter as I heard the ridiculous sounds coming from their mouths. Turns out I’m a laugher, not a screamer.
Every coaster was followed by uncontrollable laughter and giggles, and inside jokes that I’ll never be able to forget. We walked our way through the park, through the rain. My friends used their umbrellas, and although I had an umbrella in my bag I refused to use it. I argued that it would be pointless to use an umbrella if I was already wet. The cold and heavy rain did nothing to depreciate the lightheartedness of the moment. 9 am became 1 pm after five more roller coasters, and four energetic teenagers became lethargic sloths who could only focus on getting food. My friends bought $16 pizza slices to replenish their energy, but I, unfortunately, could not eat it. So I ventured off to find my own meal. After searching for food in the pouring rain, I came across a slushie stand. I didn’t know if frozen water combined with a sugary syrup would really satisfy my hunger, but I needed to eat something. After I got my mango and lime slushie, I started to realize that I was a little lost. I couldn’t see the pizza place anymore. So I just walked around for a while looking for my friends.
As the adrenaline that had accumulated inside of me throughout the day began to wear away, I became more aware of my physical state. I realized that my shoes were completely soaked, as were my socks. I was worried that I would have to amputate my feet because both of them had completely lost feeling. I don’t even know how I was walking. My fingers were also completely numb. I tried to warm myself up by putting on my jacket, but putting on a wet piece of cloth didn’t really do much to preserve the little body heat I had left. My hair went from being wet and curly to looking as if I had been electrocuted.
I finally found my friends, and because of the lack of seating during lunch, we sat on a ledge outside of a 60’s-themed restaurant. After finishing my slushie, I waited for my friends to finish their pizza. I spotted a stream of water falling off of the roof of the building. And the child in me — which far outweighs the adult in me — couldn’t help but stand underneath the flood of water. I became completely drenched in the cold, refreshing precipitation, and looked as if I had just tossed myself into the ocean. I stood under the “waterfall” multiple times until my friends were done eating or until they were too embarrassed to be seen with me anymore. I don’t know which came first.
We proceeded to go on some kiddie-coasters. I waved to every one of my classmates as we were going on a music ride meant for 5-year-olds for the 4th time, and my friends hid their faces in embarrassment. It soon became 4 pm, and we all had to meet up by the merry-go-round. We quickly ran to the gift store and burned some money on stuffed animals and cotton candy before joining our group. The relentless rain had turned into a mild downpour, and the dismal atmosphere became cheerful. When we got back to the group, I spoke to some of my other friends and found out what they had been up to. Some had won basketballs, so I immediately traded my bags of souvenirs for one. We played some one-on-one which I really enjoyed. After that we boarded the bus. I quietly nodded off to the gentle tapping of rain.
Going to Dorney in the rain was one of the best experiences of my life. Now every time it rains, I can’t help but think back to that day and smile a little. 🙂