“Greetings, one and all! Today you have chosen the most thrilling but unique ride in our entire park. Quickly take your seats and fasten your seatbelts. Don’t forget your 3-D glasses or you will miss the full visual effects of your adventure. Hold on tight for the journey of your life.”
Janice grabbed the handle bar as her seat bolted backwards. She felt her seat spinning in circles and then plunge forward. Janice screamed. It seemed like she was falling from a tall building. With her heart pounding in her chest, she gasped for air and wondered where her brain was when she allowed her sister to convince her to take this ride.
Janice’s seat started bouncing rapidly then came to a startling halt. A ray of colors illuminated the room. When her eyes adjusted to the light, she realized she was in her mother’s kitchen when she was five years old. She instantly recognized the daisy curtains hanging at the sink window.
“I don’t understand,” she cried, “Why does she still get a present on my birthday, when I didn’t get one on hers?”
“Stop whining,” her mother scolded. “You’re old enough to understand that it’s her birthday.”
“It’s not fair. You should wait until we both understand. She shouldn’t get a gift on my birthday if I can’t have one on hers anymore.”
“Life is unfair. Get use to it. Go to your room until you can stop crying.”
“You love Linda more than me,” she bawled and ran to her bedroom. Linda playing in the bedroom and seeing her big sister crying, came and gave her a hug. Janice wanted to push her away, but resisted. The hug felt good.
The pain of that moment resurfaced as the memories flooded Janice's heart. The overwhelming sense of being loved less still hurt as if it had been yesterday.
Janice’s seat jolted and slowly rocked. Everything went black again. She felt her seat move sideways and then swirled. Janice’s stomach was becoming queasy just as the seat went still again. The lights slowly flickered, and Janice was once again in her mother’s kitchen. She was seven, and her mother was stirring something on the stove.
“Mom,” Janice yelled.
“Quit your yelling. What do you want?”
“I need to talk to you.”
“Janice, can’t you see I’m busy right now? Go play. I will talk to you later.”
Janice turned and darted to her bedroom. She had desperately wanted to tell her mother about her horrible day at school. The kids had teased her about her new glasses and said such hateful words, but her mother didn't care. Linda was sitting on the floor playing, but ran and hugged her when she came in the room. “Can I wear your glasses, sissy? I want to look cool like you.” She gave her glasses to her sister. Her sister always wanted to help her, and her mother never did talk to her later.
With a jerk, Janice’s seat rumbled and moved forward again. There were no lights, and she was getting a little weary of this ride. What is the point of reliving what you cannot change? The lights flashed on, and she found herself in a kitchen again. This time it was her kitchen. She was there with her son.
“So, tell me where you learned such disgusting words,” Janice yelled at the toe-blonde little boy in front of her. She pushed the bar of soap in his mouth. He was crying and pleading for her to listen to him, but she wouldn’t. Squirming and wiggling, he finally broke free of her grasp and ran away. She heard him say, “I learned them from you, mommy.”
Janice began to weep into her hands while her seat slowly moved forward into its final destination. The ride was over.
“How was it,” her sister asked, twisting her ring on her finger.
Janice rose from her seat.
“I had no idea how much I was turning out like mom. You know, Linda, I can't do anything about the past, but will you help me make a better future?”
“You bet,” my sister said, locking her arms into mine. “Why don’t we start with a prayer?”
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