“With you here, I know that life is much more fun.” – Pooh (Winnie The Pooh)
“Which park are we going to?” I asked. Disney is made up of four parks total: Epcot, The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s MGM Studios.
“Well, since we are older, I thought you’d like MGM Studios. We are gonna take a tour of the Animation Studio and do some rides.” Brian said. I had a genuine smile on my face this time….I was kind of disappointed we didn’t go to the Magic Kingdom but this would be just as good. He laughed when he saw the large smile and I hurried to get out of the car.
“This is awesome. I can’t believe we’re seeing the animation studio….” I said happily as we walked through the gate, going into a long explanation of why I wanted to be an animator. Brian listened intently and I almost forgot about the secret I was keeping from him…..almost.
Since we were there we saw the Beauty and the Beast show, it was only a half hour long and by the end I was humming Be Our Guest, along with Brian. He was amused at how much of a kid I’d turned into….I was no longer acting 20.
“Kevin deserves a gold medal for taking care of you all this time, I can hardly keep up.” Brian said, running to catch up with me in one of the gift shops. I didn’t buy anything, I was just looking around mostly.
“I tell him that all the time, that’s nothing new.” I agreed with a small laugh. We got ice cream and there it was looming in front of us…..one ride I was finally big enough to go on.
The Tower Of Terror.
I turned to Brian and motioned up at it, I almost laughed because the color drained from his face.
“No way.” he said.
“Why? It’ll be fun. Don’t be a chicken, Sheriff.” I took his hand and started pulling him towards the line, which was pretty long. As we got closer inside, the ominous music started and Brian became more and more nervous.
“What is your deal?” I asked. He was literally shaking, his face pale.
“I’m afraid of heights. Can’t we skip this ride? I can’t do it.”
Well I’ll be damned. I found something Farm Boy is afraid of.
“Oh no, it’s my birthday and you’re coming with me. We are gonna be strapped in and everything, there’s nothing to worry about.” I told him. He tried to sneak past me but I wasn’t about to ride this alone. We boarded the ride which was to resemble a broken run down elevator, with two rows of seats. Brian was shaking next to me and I nudged him.
“We’ll be fine.” I said. The rest of the passengers loaded and the ride started. The ride rose up and up, we could see outside and Brian was starting to freak out already. We hung there until finally it released, dropping us as we both screamed. I felt my stomach try to go in my throat. We finally got off and the two of us wobbled out, the sensation of falling still tingling.
It was time to take a break and buy some souvenirs. Brian ended up buying me a authentic Indiana Jones fedora after I mentioned I’d always wanted one. I spent the way to the next ride imitating Harrison Ford and pretending to save us from the Nazis. Brian cracked up and I wondered if it would be the right time to tell him as we sat down to have burgers. I kept thinking of how to tell him but each time I rehearsed it in my head, it came out wrong.
“Dude there’s a Star Wars ride here. We have to go.” Brian said, looking at the brochure and grinning like an idiot. I almost choked on my burger.
“You mean you like Star Wars?” I asked in surprise.
“Like it? I LOVE it. As a kid I wanted to be Luke so bad. I used to have everything….bed sheets and toys….”
I shouldn’t have asked. While I was kind of impressed that he was secretly a geek like I was…..it just reminded me more of the fact we shared DNA.
“….and then there’s the part where Princess Leia tells Han she loves him and he says “I know”…..” Brian finished as we got to the ride. Star Tours was fun, it was yet another simulator but it took you to the moon of Endor. I liked it because I loved Star Wars myself. After the ride we both got lightsabers and kept hitting each other with them, not caring anyone saw us.
Once again I thought over how to tell him.
“Look! You can get pictures with Buzz and Woody!” a kid shouted, distracting me.
I grinned at Brian and we both did it. Nice birthday souvenir, and future blackmail all rolled into one.
“Don’t show anyone that.” Brian commented as if he were reading my thoughts.
We walked to the Animation Courtyard and saw the line for the Animation Studio tour, something I’d looked forward to all day. I was positively giddy while in line, explaining to Brian how they make the films. Although I knew a lot the tour would still be tons of fun.
“Looks like it might rain.” Brian commented. Spontaneous rainstorms in Florida were normal….it could be sunny then raining like hell the next so I shrugged it off. The two of us were gonna be inside anyway, so I ignored it.
“Dude, this is what I’m gonna be doing in a few years.” I said, after we watched a short film that told us about the animation process.
“That was pretty cool. You really want to do this, don’t you?” Brian asked. The two of us moved onto where you could actually see the animators working at their drafting tables.
“Yep. Ever since I was a kid. My parents were really supportive, they put money away for me to go to animation school when I got older….but I ended up going to college first because I had the art scholarship. My teachers said I had lots of potential.”
That was the damn truth. My art teacher said if I didn’t become an animator by the time I was 30 she’d come kick my butt and I accepted the challenge.
After yet another film we exited the tour with me humming A Whole New World under my breath until Brian nudged me. A few rides later, A clap of thunder and people running to get dry signaled our day was going to get cut short.
“Looks like we have to call it a day.” Brian told me. Today had been so perfect I didn’t want it to end. The rain was coming down really bad as we left and pulled out onto the highway….it was dark and hard to see.
“I can hardly see the road. We should pull over for a while or something until it stops.” Brian said, turning off onto the shoulder. It was pouring so much that we couldn’t see across the street, the car lights were our only indication that we were on a road to begin with. Lots of cars were sliding and we sat there watching them to pass time.
“Brian…..I just want to say thank you for today. It was really fun.” I said, breaking our silence.
“I’m glad you had fun, cause so did I. I feel like you and I have gotten really close the last few months, almost like family.” Brian told me. My heart hurt at the sound of “family”.
“That’s really nice of you to say.”
“I mean it. You’re like a brother but better.” Brian said with a smile. I was bursting, I had to tell him now. The guilt was killing me.
A loud crunch silenced me, I never finished my sentence…..I was tossed into the air and everything turned upside down…..I heard Brian screaming next to me. I felt something hit me in the head and then there was nothing.
I was met with darkness.