While on vacation, I had the opportunity to visit a water park.
At one point, Cousin D (six-years old) asked me to go with her on the water tube slide. I asked if we could go on the more twisty slide, only to discover that the twistier slide was completely opaque, and thus completely dark dark DARK. By then we had jumped into the fast line.
Over the staccato hiss of the raft delivery system and the shrieks of the riders ahead of us as they plunged into the birth-canal-like opening, I repeated "You can do this," to myself. About a hundred times. I distracted myself with small talk with 6-year-old Cousin D.
And the yawning black mouth to the void grew closer. And closer.
Each step brought me nearer and nearer to a potential Rebirthing Experience.
Then it was our turn and we had to get onto the small three-person life-raft for the ride down.
Hot, humid air blew out of the tube. "Ready?" the attendant asked, and then we were sliding, sliding! down into darkness. My feet disappeared as the light from the entrance dimmed. When I couldn't see D sitting in front of me, we entered a spiral. In the blackness the only indication of motion was the minor whiplash induced by corkscrew turns or my fluttering stomach during an unseen drop. And then a sheen of black plastic heralded the tube's end and we were sliding out in sunlight.
During one of the eight subsequent trips, my sister-in-law, M, rode with us. She walked away at the end opining that I "scream like a girl."