12. Coaster World

12. Coaster World

A Chapter by Craig2591

Will Chrissy's cranky attitude ruin their day at the amusement park?


Ian watched with some concern as Chrissy picked at her dinner. He knew from experience that loss of appetite was a symptom of depression. She was slowly getting better, but she still had her bad days. He wished she would get professional help, but she steadfastly refused, insisting that she would get through it on her own. She could be exasperatingly stubborn!

“The fish is delicious, Bittersweet,” he said trying to cheer her up, “You're really turning into quite the cook.”

“Yeah,” piped up Emily, “I like it, too.”

“Thanks,” muttered Chrissy sullenly.

Ian decided it was the best time to make his announcement. “I have a surprise for you guys,” he said.

“What is it?” asked Emily excitedly.

“Well, you got all Bs on your final report card, and you're advancing to fifth grade... and next week is your tenth birthday. I thought that called for a celebration, so I got us all tickets to Coaster World for this Saturday.”

Emily's face lit up. “Coaster World?! Cool!! Isn't that great, Chrissy?!”

Chrissy glared at Ian for several seconds. Then, with a strained smile, she asked, “Is there a particular reason you didn't discuss this with me first?”

“Yeah. Because I knew you'd say no,” he smiled.

“You're damn right I'd say no!” Her smile quickly faded. “Think for a minute. What are amusement parks full of?!”

“Rides?” asked Emily.

“Games?” tried Ian.

People!!” snapped Chrissy, “Amusement parks are full of people, and I don't like people! And even worse, they're crawling with kids, and I hate kids!”

“I'm a kid,” said Emily with a look of concern.

“You're my kid,” responded Chrissy, “That's different!” She turned to Ian. “You two go ahead and have fun. I'm staying home.”

“Nooo!” said Emily plaintively, “Come with us. Pleeease?”

“Come on, Chrissy,” added Ian, “It won't be as much fun without you.”

“I don't know about that,” she groused, “I'd probably be a wet blanket and spoil the day for the two of you.” They both stared at her with sad faces. She finally shook her head in exasperation. “Alright! Alright! I'll go! Now knock off the puppy dog eyes!”

“Yay!” hollered Emily, “We're going to Coaster World!”

“Damn you, Ian Stewart,” Chrissy muttered under her breath, “Damn you.”


They arrived at Coaster World just as the park was opening. The weather report predicted a clear, hot day. As soon as they went through they entrance, Chrissy pulled them aside and began sternly reciting a list of rules, “No junk food, no running off, no whining, no yelling, no begging, no...” She continued on for awhile. Ian was beginning to worry that he had made a mistake to insist that Chrissy come with them. Once she was done, they continued on into the park.

The very first thing they came to was a souvenir shop. Ian was quick to point out to Emily that it would be better to stop and get souvenirs as they were leaving the park so that they didn't have to carry them around all day. He did, however, buy her a lime-green Coaster World sun visor to wear. He grinned as he offered to buy Chrissy a matching one. She gave him a caustic look in reply.

Next they came to a snack bar. Ian convinced Chrissy to ease up on the 'no junk food' rule just for that day. But he also warned her of the dangers of mixing too much junk food with amusement park rides and small children. She nodded at the wisdom of that and promised to keep a close eye on Emily's food intake throughout the day. She bought a bag of fresh baked chocolate-chip cookies and a small bottle of apple juice for each of them.

After that they came to their first ride - the bumper cars. Chrissy didn't see the entertainment value of a ride that reminded her of her commute to and from work everyday and decided to sit on a bench and watch while Ian and Emily rode them.

The next ride they came to was the carrousel. Ian insisted that they all ride it. “You can't go to an amusement park and not ride the carrousel,” he explained. Chrissy and Emily looked bored the whole time.

After the carrousel they came to the Tilt-o-Whirl, a rather wild ride that spun in circles as it dipped up and down. Ian decided to sit and watch as Chrissy and Emily rode it. Chrissy must've enjoyed it at least a little because she volunteered to ride it again with Emily, though she added 'no squealing' to the list of rules.

They finally came to their first roller-coaster, the Screamin' Demon. “You guys go ahead,” said Ian, “I'll wait here for you.” He pointed to a park bench.

“Why?” Chrissy asked with a furrowed brow.

“I just want to relax a little,” he answered.

“But, we just got here. You can't be tired already.”

He shrugged.

“You're scared,” she said with a smile.

“What?! No, I'm not!” he answered defensively.

“Yes, you are,” she continued to smile, “You didn't ride the Til-o-Whirl and now you don't want to ride this. You're scared.”

“I'm not scared!” he said angrily, “It's just... well... I'll get sick.”


He looked embarrassed. “Amusement park rides make me sick,” he explained, “I've always been that way. If I ride anything wilder than the carrousel or the Ferris wheel, I throw-up.” Emily giggled. “You guys go ahead,” he continued, “I'll wait for you here. I don't mind.”

“Well...” Chrissy said hesitantly as she looked up at the ride, “let's go ride something else and come back to this later, Squirt.”

“Nooo,” Emily complained, “I want to ride it now.”

“What did I say about 'no whining'!” Chrissy sternly reminded her.

Now who's scared?” said Ian with a smile.

“What?! I'm not scared!”

“Then ride it with her now,” he grinned.

Chrissy looked from one to the other like a cornered animal. Finally she threw her hands into the air in exasperation and said, “Okay! Okay! I've never ridden a roller-coaster before. Are you happy now?!”

They both looked at her with astonishment. “You haven't?” asked Emily wide eyed.

Now it was Chrissy's turn to look embarrassed. “My mom could never afford to take me to an amusement park. She took me to the county fair every year and I rode the rides there but, they never had any roller-coasters... at least not like this.” She craned her neck as she looked up at the structure towering above them.

“That's okay,” said Emily, “If you guys are scared, I can ride it by myself.”

Chrissy stared at her for several moments. “C'mon,” she said finally, “I'll ride it with you.” She wasn't about to let a ten-year-old outdo her in courage.

“Wait for me,” Ian hurried after them, “But if I throw-up, it's your fault!”

Ian didn't throw-up, but his face was pale and his eyes were glazed as he walked down the exit ramp at the end of the ride.

“Are you okay, Ian?” asked Emily with a concerned look, “You look kinda funny.”

“I'll live,” he muttered sullenly, “But, I'm not riding that thing again!”

They turned and looked at Chrissy, who was following them. Her eyes were glazed, too, but apparently for a different reason. She looked at Emily with a touch of wonder. “You want to ride it again, Squirt?”


“C'mon!” She grabbed Emily's hand and they ran back to the ride's entrance. Ian found a bench under a shade tree and sat there until his stomach stopped flip-flopping while Chrissy and Emily rode the coaster not one, but two more times.

When they finished, Chrissy asked Emily, “Which one's next?”

“That one,” Emily pointed excitedly, “The Dive Bomber!”

“Geez!” said Chrissy as she looked up at it, “Look at the first drop on it! It must be ten stories up. Let's go!” They ran off together.

“That's okay,” Ian called after them sarcastically, “You guys go ahead. I'll catch up later.” He sat nearby while they rode the Dive Bomber three times, too. Then they started looking excitedly for the next roller-coaster.

Ian eventually got tired of following Chrissy and Emily from coaster to coaster and decided to wander off on his own. He went to the fun-house and then to the arcade. He played ski-ball and won a small stuffed kitty for Emily, though he never told them that he spent three times what it was worth before he scored enough points for it. He rode the steam train to the frontier village and watched the crafters as they made baskets, spun yarn, and hammered out horse shoes. Back at the mid-way he watched a magic act and some jugglers until noon. Then he met up with Chrissy and Emily for a light lunch.

Chrissy was mostly silent through lunch. But that was mainly because Emily talked non-stop as she described each and every twist and turn of every roller-coaster they had ridden that morning - complete with sound effects. Ian was amazed at how she managed to eat, talk and breathe seemingly all at the same time.

After lunch they stayed together for awhile and enjoyed some of the tamer attractions. Then Ian shooed them off to ride the coasters again one last time before they left.

They stopped at their favorite pizzeria on the way home and Ian watched in awe as Chrissy and Emily nearly devoured an entire large pizza on their own.

Back at the apartment, Ian was coming from the bedroom after changing into a t-shirt and lounge pants and found Chrissy and Emily watching television on the sofa. Actually, Chrissy was watching television. Emily was fast asleep with her head on Chrissy's lap. Chrissy looked up at him and said, “Well, you did it again. I needed today really bad! You're uncanny!”

“There's nothing uncanny about it,” he replied with a smile, “We all needed today. Especially her.” He nodded toward Emily. He decided not to tell her that the whole amusement park idea had been a gamble. One that had nearly backfired.

“Yeah,” she agreed. Then she drew a deep breath and sighed. “Today is the happiest I've been in a long time,” she said. “But it won't last. It never does. Happiness is always fleeting.” He grew concerned. Was she trying to talk herself back into being depressed? “It's like meth,” she continued, reflecting on her former addiction, “There's no feeling in the world like that initial rush you get when you first shoot-up. It's incredible, Ian. But it never lasts. So you do more meth to get that feeling back. And when it goes away again, you do even more meth. Happiness is like that. People buy a new outfit or a big TV and it makes them happy. But the happiness fades, so they go out and buy something else. And when the happiness fades again, they buy even more stuff. They keep buying things until they're over their heads in debt, but they still keep buying things because it makes them happy and they're taught that they're supposed to be happy and that there's something wrong with them if they're not!” Now Ian was starting to get depressed.

“I'm not going to search for happiness anymore,” she said with a sigh. Then she looked down at Emily's sleeping form and said, “Instead, I'm going to seek contentment. Contentment is simpler and more enduring.” She looked back up at him and suddenly rolled her eyes. “Oh, God! I'm starting to sound as hokey as you, now!” He smiled at her. It sounded like maybe she had turned a corner. He hoped so.

“Why don't you put the Squirt to bed and meet me in our bedroom and we'll enjoy one more amusement before lights out,” she said with a sly smile.

Ian picked Emily up and carried her to her bed. “Where's Chrissy?” she mumbled sleepily as he tucked her in.

“She's in bed,” he answered her.

“Tell her g'night for me,” she said as she rolled over and fell back to sleep immediately.

“I will,” he smiled. Then he went through the apartment and turned off the lights and made sure that the front and back doors were locked. He went into their bedroom and found Chrissy lying in their bed half covered with the blankets. She was naked... and fast asleep. It looked like she was already getting a start on that 'contentment' thing. No sense in disturbing her. He carefully and quietly crawled into the bed so as not to awaken her.

© 2013 Craig2591

Author's Note

As always, constructive criticisms and suggestions are welcome.

This brings the story up to date with the next chapter, which I uploaded earlier. Some of you have already read it.

My Review

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Featured Review

I love roller coasters! I love this chapter, too. c:
It's nice to see a more light-hearted chapter.
Chrissy's thoughts on happiness and contentment are golden. Depression is never a good thing, but, from personal experience I know that it can often shake people loose from blindly believing what the rest of the world says an acceptable life must be.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


11 Years Ago

Thank you very much. I think Chrissy is going to be okay. The next chapter is already up. It's mo.. read more


There's a roller coaster near me called 'The Screamin' Demon.' Coincidental, but I imprinted what I knew on the story. You described the dive bomber more than the demon; I don't know what you had in mind for it.

Boiling down addiction the way Chrissy did - comparing meth and shopping was interesting. Their roots are the same seed growing into a different tree. She sounded old at the end, being satisfied with 'content,' but I think its hard to have a revelation like that verbalized and NOT sound old. I really liked that root of addiction part. I also like how you ended it; sexy intentions foiled by exhaustion - that's happened to me SO many times.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


11 Years Ago

I tried to come up with un-used names for roller-coasters but I think they're all taken. I thought .. read more
I think Chrissy is on to something there! Happy is hard to sustain and there is so much to be said for contentment. That I an had a great idea, but it's too bad roller coasters make him sick. I love roller coasters!

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


11 Years Ago

Nice to see Chrissy coming out of her depression. Hope it lasts. A very enjoyable chapter.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


11 Years Ago

Thanks for reading and reviewing.
I love roller coasters! I love this chapter, too. c:
It's nice to see a more light-hearted chapter.
Chrissy's thoughts on happiness and contentment are golden. Depression is never a good thing, but, from personal experience I know that it can often shake people loose from blindly believing what the rest of the world says an acceptable life must be.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


11 Years Ago

Thank you very much. I think Chrissy is going to be okay. The next chapter is already up. It's mo.. read more

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4 Reviews
Added on May 18, 2013
Last Updated on August 8, 2013
Tags: romance, love, parenting, foster parent, adoption, depression




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