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I hold your hand tightly as the car rides up slowly. I have always been terrified of heights, of machines moving. You know a bit about this, and you do not rock the car. The pitting terror in my stomach is something I only remember when I am in the car, when it is too late to turn back.

We listen to a little boy in an animaniac's hat thump his sneakers on the baseboard four cars ahead of us. I wanna get off, he wails. The mother gives him a balloon with alien eyes. Look at this, she says. Aliens aren't afraid of anything. I'm not an alien, he wails back. And I want off.

The ride starts in earnest, and I stare at the blue painted wicker of the car's back in front of us. Was she frightened, too, that first time, I wonder.

When I was seven years old, my father took me on the roller coaster four times in a row. We are going until you aren't afraid anymore, he told me. And suddenly, on the fourth ride, the mind numbing terror, the conviction that at any moment I was going to enter a horribly long and painful death was replaced by sheer, enforced calm.

I draw on that calm now, and smile at you.

I want you to have this secret part of me, but later. Not now.

This is lovely, I say.

Look at how much you can see.

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