There are many lines dividing youth from maturity. One of them is the day you can no longer go on carnival rides without becoming ill. It is a sad day, one that rips you from the effortless joy of giddy, spinning childhood into the sorry realization that you are no longer so balance-flexible nor stomach-hardy, and the adult world looms.

That day came for me at the ripe old age of 15. A group of us headed off to Dandelion Park, a minuscule theme park (theme was weeds? idk) where I was primarily excited about the idea of sharing a close and romantic haunted house ride with a boy I had long pined for. The pack of us, newly off of school for the summer, grabbed some cheap food, ran into the park and decided that the first ride was to be this sort-of ferris wheel, except you rode in enclosed cages while going around. You could also hold down a bar as you went around, stabilizing the cage and making you go upside-down. It was a good ride, lots of fun.

JOY!!!! The guy I liked, all tan-skinned with his lovely longish black wavy hair and huge perfect smile, got in line next to me, and we coupled up for the ride. I noticed the sky getting a bit dark, clouds quickly forming. NO! I was going to have this ride! No thunderstorm was going to kick me out of this moment! We clambered into the red metal cage, put the bar down, and the reprobate carnie clanged the pin shut on the cage door. Up we went, laying flat on out backs as we went further up and...ooooover. He looked at me and I looked at him and we laughed and held on. I got butterflies in my stomach, which I attributed to nerves and teen love. We went around and around, pulling the bar hard at just the right moment to hit the upside-down sweet spot. My necklace clanked against my glasses, and I worried they would fly off and I would be blurry-sighted and embarrassed. The sky was getting darker and darker. I moved closer to my guy; he moved closer to me, our thighs touching. Faster around we went, and my stomach started flipping and flopping in a decidedly-unromantic way.

I was starting to think that maybe I wasn't feeling so good and/or we were about to get electrocuted, when I felt a...liquid...splash on my head and arms. Plop, plap. At first I thought it was the inevitable ruining rain, but it was much much worse. I looked at my guy, who was looking at his shirt and pants, and I noticed the rain plops had chunks in them, on us. Then I heard, over the roaring ride engine, a retch, and felt more wet on me. SHIT!!!!! We were being PUKED ON! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I started to smell the acrid stomach acid of the kid's vomit from the cage above us and my own stomach distress turned from worrisome to acute.

We yelled at the top of our lungs for Carnie Man to stop the ride, but he was on it already. We lurched to a halt, completely horrified and disgusted that we were covered in some little bastard's heave, and staggered out onto the grass. My head was spinning, my guts ached. I lunged over to a huge garbage can shaped like a smiling daisy and bowed over it. A blast of hot dogs, Coke, and cotton candy came flying out of my mouth in one great propulsive spew. Dizzy, reeking, and utterly mortified, I walked a few steps to some grass under a tree and fell on my back, spent. I didn't even want to look for my crush; I was hoping he had ran the other direction and did not witness my red-faced sweaty vomit performance. Just my luck, he came over by me with the rest of the gang, giggling and swearing and concerned all at once. He looked at me with a sad, smiling shake of the head, and said, "You look awful." I glanced up at him, and rolled my eyes. A crack of thunder pierced the pitiful moment, and one of my girlfriends said we had better get out of here, and helped me to my shaky feet. The rain burst through the clouds in great sheets as we ran to the arcade.

The end of the story was that I washed up in the park bathroom as best I could, my girlfriend went to her car and got me her t-shirt and swimsuit bottoms to wear, as well as a towel to tie around said bikini bottoms, and the day was pretty much over. About six months later, I finally got to make out with my guy at a party, and he was such a bad kisser that I completely lost interest in him on the spot.

From then on, if I attempted to go on rides, I just felt nauseated and woozy, so I stopped. Sober adulthood arrived via a blackening sky, a failed romance, a dodgy ride, and puke rain.