Playland: A Memoir

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story of how my world was shattered while surrounded by happiness.

Submitted: October 02, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 02, 2014



I could hear the roar of the ferocious dragon, as the sound vibrated the ground when the fearful ride entered its mouth. This sound meant we had arrived at Rye, Playland amusement park for an annual day of thrill. Every year, my friends and I went to Playland to reward ourselves for a great year at school. We live in New York City so the whole day was an adventure. The journey was just as exhilarating as the amusement park itself.

We were not allowed to bring anything with us on the ride, so we had to store it. I decided to rent the all day locker, but for me it wasn’t just that. For twelve dollars, we got to temporarily pause reality. I surrendered my phone; the device that handcuffs me to the world. It keeps me connected at all times, even when I don’t want to be.

I had texted my mother that I was going to store my phone in the locker. I looked at it once, and put it in. It was truly a bittersweet moment to part with the device. I felt bitter for knowing that somehow that little thing was the only connection I had to the outside world when I was so far. Yet not having it on me, not having that tie, felt so freeing.

We returned to the locker during lunch, once again having to face my reality. I checked my phone. I got a message from my cousin Christina. I found this a bit bizarre. My maternal side of the family is very close. My mother has two older brothers. My uncle Edgardo Jr, is married to my aunt Lily. They have two daughters Valerie and Christina. My other uncle, Ricardo is married to my aunt Bonnie. They have three children Brittany, Vincent, and Savannah. In total we have seven cousins including my brother Ryan, and myself. We are all around the same age, and grew up around each other. We all share a special connection. So having her message me was not unordinary but the context really alarmed me.

She wrote, “Hey Sammie, I just wanted to let you know that I loved you, and that I love how close we are. I love our relationship, all of us cousins. What is happening with Savannah is so scary.” I knew that Savannah was sick however I had no idea why she seemed so concerned. I thoughtlessly replied back that I loved her as well. When it actually processed, I still did not fully understand why it was so scary.

I put the phone back in the locker, and tried to go on a ride. There was something holding me back, so the others went on without me. I abandoned the feeling of sweet ignorant bliss. I cherish the feeling of disconnect, but now I could not bare it. I had to give in to temptation; I opened the locker, and was brought back into reality.

I called my mom, and asked about Savannah. She was vague in her explanation however gave me enough assurance that everything was fine. I was assured enough to detach yet again. It was like pressing pause on my life’s remote, pausing the outside world, and living in some fantasyland where my only worry is which ride is next.

The sun had set, so the lights from the rides did not have competition. The feelings of a theme park came alive as the lights of rides lit up against the black of the night. Every sense enhanced; the music sensed louder, the smiles bigger, the thrill seemed greater. Our vacation from reality was nearing an end. As we went to the lockers for the last time, I unpaused my life, and pressed play. I called my mom again, telling her that we were coming home. At this moment, I wish I hadn’t. 

She told me that my Grandma, Aunt Lily, and Uncle Ed were on the road driving to Chicago to my Aunt Bonnie, and Uncle Rick’s house. When I hear this, panic automatically set in. We all live in New York, so that is about a sixteen hour drive. I knew something was incredibly wrong.  Now I was petrified. My heart thumped so hard, I thought it was going to pounce out of my chest. My body was reacting to every word she told me. She began by summarizing the account by uncle gave to her about Savannah that morning. She was not herself. She seemed lethargic, and confused. The ambulance was called and things took a turn for the worst. She was now in critical condition. She was having terrible seizures, and because of this the doctors had to put her in a medically induced coma. She had to be intubated, and the family had to decide whether or not to pull the tubes the following day.

Out of the seven cousins, Savannah and I had the deepest connection. Although I was nineteen and she was fourteen, age never seemed to matter much to us. We always had stuff to talk about. We talked about music, movies, celebrities, and boys. Honestly, there were times that I would turn to Savannah for advice. My Uncle Ricky would sometimes work here in the city, and Savannah and I liked to keep it old fashion by ending each other notes through my uncle, when he went back forth. We would wait every week for a new letter. Getting one from her

 was the highlight of my week.

She had an old soul, accompanied by a youthful laughter that would light up a room. She had a fiery personality that made her earned respect. She was vibrant. She always knew what to say, whether it be right or wrong. She was never afraid to speak her mind. There was so many things I loved about her. One of the things I loved most was that no matter how mature she seemed, she was still a little girl, and I was still her older cousin. I could always tell that she looked up to me. She made me a role model. She looked up to me. A feeling that was foreign but ever so delightful. We had a way with each other. She was not only my cousin but also my best friend.

 My body was reacting differently now, that heard about her. I stood there psychically frozen with the phone to my ear, the device that was telling me that my fourteen-year-old cousin was on the brink of death. I wanted to throw it, smash it into a thousand pieces on the ground but all I could do was blink. My body was frozen. I wished I could lock it all away, put a pause on it all, and she would be okay. I wouldn’t have to deal with it. But I couldn’t escape it no matter how hard I tried. I would have to leave the amusement park ending what would seem like an infinite nightmare with limitless tears, sorrow, and mourning.


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