فصل 27کتاب: جایی که عاشق بودیم / فصل 27
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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
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John Ivers is a polite, soft-spoken grandfather with a white baseball cap and a mustache. He and the missus live on a large farm way out in the Indiana countryside. Thanks to a website called Unusual Indiana, I have his telephone number. I’ve called ahead, just like the site said to do, and John is in the yard waiting for us. He waves and walks forward, shaking hands and apologizing that Sharon’s gone off to the market.
He leads us to the roller coaster he’s built in his backyard—actually there are two: the Blue Flash and the Blue Too. Each seats one person, which is the only disappointing thing about it, but otherwise it’s really damn cool. John says, “I’m not engineer educated, but I am an adrenaline junkie. Demolition derbies, drag racing, driving fast—when I gave them up, I tried to think of something I could do to replace them, something that would give me that rush. I love the thrill of impending, weightless doom, so I built something to give me those feelings all the time.”
As he stands, hands on hips, nodding at the Blue Flash, I think about impending, weightless doom. It’s a phrase I like and understand. I tuck it away in the corner of my mind to pull out later, maybe for a song.
I say, “You may be the most brilliant man I have ever met.” I like the idea of something that can give you those feelings all the time. I want something like that, and then I look at Violet and think: There she is.
John Ivers has built the roller coaster into the side of a shed. He says it measures 180 feet in length and climbs to a height of 20 feet. The speeds don’t get above 25 mph, and it only lasts ten seconds, but there’s an upside-down loop in the middle. To look at it, the Flash is just twisted scrap metal painted baby blue, with a 1970s bucket seat and a frayed cloth lap belt, but something about it makes my palms itch and I can’t wait to ride.
I tell Violet she can go first. “No. That’s okay. You go.” She backs away from the roller coaster like it might reach out and swallow her, and I suddenly wonder if this whole thing was a bad idea.
Before I can open my mouth to say anything, John straps me into the seat and pushes me up the side of the shed till I feel and hear a click, and then up, up, up I go. He says, “You might want to hold on, son,” as I reach the top, and so I do as I hover, just for a second, at the very top of the shed, farmland spread out around me, and then off I shoot, down and into the loop, shouting myself hoarse. Too soon, it’s over, and I want to go again, because this is what life should feel like all the time, not just for ten seconds.
I do this five more times because Violet still isn’t ready, and whenever I get to the end, she waves her hands and says, “Do it again.”
The next time I come to rest, I climb out, legs shaking, and suddenly Violet is taking a seat and John Ivers is strapping her in, and then she’s climbing, up to the top, where she hovers. She turns her head to look in my direction, but suddenly she’s off and diving and swooping and yelling her head off.
When she comes to a stop, I can’t tell if she’s going to throw up or climb out and slap me. Instead, she shouts, “Again!” And she’s off once more in a blur of blue metal and long hair and long legs and arms.
We trade places then, and I go three times in a row, till the world looks upside down and tilted and I feel the blood pumping hard in my veins. As he unbuckles the lap belt, John Ivers chuckles. “That’s a lot of ride.”
“You can say that again.” I reach for Violet because I’m not too steady on my feet and it’s a long way down if I fall. She wraps her arm around me like it’s second nature, and I lean into her and she leans into me until we make up one leaning person.
“Want to try the Blue Too?” John wants to know, and suddenly I don’t because I want to be alone with this girl. But Violet breaks free and goes right to the roller coaster and lets John strap her in.
The Blue Too isn’t nearly so fun, so we ride the Flash twice more. When I step off for the last time, I take Violet’s hand and she swings it back and forth, back and forth. Tomorrow I’ll be at my dad’s for Sunday dinner, but today I’m here.
The things we leave behind are a miniature toy car we got at the dollar store—symbolizing Little Bastard—and two dollhouse figures, a boy and a girl, which we tuck inside an empty pack of American Spirit cigarettes. We cram it all into a magnetized tin the size of an index card.
“So that’s it,” Violet says, sticking it to the underside of the Blue Flash. “Our last wandering.”
“I don’t know. As fun as this was, I’m not sure it’s what Black had in mind. I’ll need to ruminate on it, understand—give it some good, hard thought—but we may need to choose a kind of backup place, just in case. The last thing I want to do is half-ass this, especially now that we have the support of your parents.”
On the way home, she rolls down the window, her hair blowing wild. The pages of our wandering notebook rattle in the breeze as she writes, head bent, one leg crossed over the other to make a kind of table. When she’s like this for a few miles, I say, “What are you working on?”
“Just making some notes. First I was writing about the Blue Flash, and then about a man who builds a roller coaster in his backyard. But then I had a couple of ideas I wanted to get on paper.” Before I can ask about these ideas, her head is bent over the notebook again, and the pen is scratching across the page.
When she looks up again two miles later, she says, “You know what I like about you, Finch? You’re interesting. You’re different. And I can talk to you. Don’t let that go to your head.”
The air around us feels charged and electric, like if you were to strike a match, the air, the car, Violet, me—everything might just explode. I keep my eyes on the road. “You know what I like about you, Ultraviolet Remarkey-able? Everything.”
“But I thought you didn’t like me.”
And then I look at her. She raises an eyebrow at me.
I go careering off onto the first exit I see. We roll past the gas station and the fast-food joints and bump across the median into a parking lot. EAST TOWNSHIP PUBLIC LIBRARY, the sign says. I wrench Little Bastard into park and then I get out and walk around to her side.
When I open the door, she says, “What the hell is going on?”
“I can’t wait. I thought I could, but I can’t. Sorry.” I reach across her and unsnap her seat belt, then pull her out so we’re standing face to face in this flat, ugly parking lot next to a dark library, a Chick-fil-A right next door. I can hear the drivethrough cashier on the speaker asking if they want to add fries and a drink.
I brush a loose strand of hair off her cheek. Then I hold her face in my hands and kiss her. I kiss her harder than I mean to, so I ease off a little, but then she’s kissing me back. Her arms are around my neck, and I’m up against her, and she’s against the car, and then I pick her up, and her legs are around me, and I somehow get the back door open, and then I’m laying her down on the blanket that’s there, and I close the doors and yank off my sweater, and she pulls off her shirt, and I say, “You are driving me crazy. You have been driving me crazy for weeks.”
My mouth is on her neck, and she’s making these gasping sounds, and then she says, “Oh my God, where are we?” And she’s laughing, and I’m laughing, and she’s kissing my neck, and my entire body feels like it’s going to fucking explode, and her skin is smooth and warm, and I run my hand over the curve of her hip as she bites my ear, and then that hand is sliding into the hollow between her stomach and her jeans. She holds on to me tighter, and when I start undoing my belt, she kind of pulls away, and I want to bang my head against the wall of Little Bastard because, shit. She’s a virgin. I can tell by the pull-away.
She whispers, “I’m sorry.”
“All that time with Ryan?”
“Close, but no.”
I run my fingers up and down her stomach. “Seriously.”
“Why’s it so hard to believe?”
“Because it’s Ryan Cross. I thought girls lost it just by looking at him.”
She slaps my arm and then lays her hand on top of mine and says, “This is the last thing I thought would happen today.”
“You know what I meant.”
I pick up her shirt, hand it to her, pick up my sweater. As I watch her get dressed, I say, “Someday, Ultraviolet,” and she actually looks disappointed.
At home in my room, I am overcome by words. Words for songs. Words of places Violet and I will go before time runs out and I’m asleep again. I can’t stop writing. I don’t want to stop even if I could.
January 31. Method: None. On a scale of one to ten on the how-close-did-I-come scale: zero. Facts: The Euthanasia Coaster doesn’t actually exist. But if it did, it would be a three-minute ride that involves a climb nearly a third of a mile long, up to 1,600 feet, followed by a sheer drop and seven loops. That final descent and series of loops takes sixty seconds, but the 10 G centrifugal force that results from the 223-mile-per-hour loops is what kills you.
And then there is this strange fold in time, and I realize I’m not writing anymore. I’m running. I’m still wearing the black sweater and old blue jeans and sneakers and gloves, and suddenly my feet hurt, and somehow I’ve made it all the way to Centerville, which is the next town over.
I take off my shoes and pull off my hat, and I walk all the way back home because for once I’ve worn myself out. But I feel good—necessary and tired and alive.
Julijonas Urbonas, the man who thought up the Euthanasia Coaster, claims it’s engineered to “humanely—with elegance and euphoria—take the life of a human being.” Those 10 Gs create enough centrifugal force on the body so that the blood rushes down instead of up to the brain, which results in something called cerebral hypoxia, and this is what kills you.
I walk through the black Indiana night, under a ceiling of stars, and think about the phrase “elegance and euphoria,” and how it describes exactly what I feel with Violet.
For once, I don’t want to be anyone but Theodore Finch, the boy she sees. He understands what it is to be elegant and euphoric and a hundred different people, most of them flawed and stupid, part asshole, part screwup, part freak, a boy who wants to be easy for the folks around him so that he doesn’t worry them and, most of all, easy for himself. A boy who belongs—here in the world, here in his own skin. He is exactly who I want to be and what I want my epitaph to say: The Boy Violet Markey Loves.
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