Top’s Not Everything

Kathy Santiago, Featured Columnist

“I’m gonna cut yer toes off and then stick them in yer eye. You won’t be able to see nuttin’ but yer toes.”

I stood in the corner of a wooden pole trying not to release the burst of laughter seeping through my lips.  It was 7 p.m. and I’ve been waiting in line to ride the Texas Giant for an hour and a half. A family of four was stuck behind my brothers and me. They had the strongest authentic Texan accent I ever heard. I peeped from behind the pole to get a glimpse of who was talking.  He stood in front of his little sister and about three feet away from me, staring at the rollercoaster as it dipped down into a drop. He was tall, at least six feet, but was a little on the thin side. He had short blonde spiky hair and a peachy skin tone that brought out his bright blue eyes in the night. I stared and wondered why I found him so attractive until he spoke again, which was a major turn was off.

“Ma, why you sitten on the ground like that, ev’thang ah’ite?” he asked as he peered closer to her.

“This line ain’t movin and show’nuff ain’t standin any longer.”

I watched as she plopped her big bottom on the dirty cement and crossed her arms in frustration like a toddler. She was a short stocky woman with an attitude.  My body jerked forward as I felt a continuous jab on my left side.

“Come on, Kathy,” Thomas said as he poked me with his finger.

I turned and saw half the line in front of me had moved forward. We reached a tunnel surrounded by fences and railroad tracks. On each fence held a ‘High voltage’ sign. I touched and held my finger there to see if anything would happen.  The metallic feel of its rusty texture left powered residue on my finger as I stoked the letter ‘H’.

“Hey, Pa, look. It says high voltage. Im’a touch it,” he said as he slowly lingered his finger onto the wired sign.

The dad stepped forward and slapped Jake’s hand down. The sound of the slap felt like hearing two pieces of steak smacking against each other.

“Ah you some kind of moron Jake? Why you actin all foolish and whut not? Is it cause there ah ladies around,” he said as he gestured to all of the girls, including me.

His cheeks burned scarlet which made his peach skin tone seem white. I let out a high squeaky laugh that echoed across the line. I shut my mouth tightly and turned to find the family staring at me. I tugged on my little brother’s sleeve to get his attention.

“Thomas, let me cut in front of you. The family behind me won’t stop staring.”

“Hold it lil lady. Jake, does you like this one,” the dad said.

I stopped and half turned to see his meaty finger pointed at me. I shot an alarmed look at Jake and quickly signaled to say no.

“Jeez pa, stop embarrassing me! She’s too tall and have nuttin on top anyway,” he said as he checked me up and down.

I felt my jaw drop 10 ft and my cheeks flared from his words that caught me off guard. I opened my mouth to say something back, but Thomas and my older brother Robert pulled me up the stairs that led to the ride. I stared at the metal poles that divide each section into rows. I couldn’t’ believe he had said that?

“It’s not always the top that matters anyway,” I grumbled to myself.

I felt a light tap on my shoulder, and I looked behind me.  Jake was standing close.

“Yer right, sometimes top doesn’t matter,” Jake said as he winked and walked away.