Walking up to the entrance I am met by the colorful clown’s big, open smile and spinning floor. The inviting smile fills me with happiness and adventure, and with my heart beating fast I eagerly hand my ticket to the attendant. With anticipation of the excitement inside the mouth, I walk into the smile. The floor is spinning fast and I try to hold the moving sides of the tunnel to not fall. I make it through the tunnel and onto a platform.
I try catching my breath. I look and see the drawbridge. It is wobbly and shaky. I can feel with each step, the planks before me give and bend under my weight. I try balancing myself and with my arms out to my sides, I reach the other side. I am too old for this. I need to turn around before I get hurt, but I’ve come too far and can’t make my way back. The only way out is to continue through the maze.
The next obstacle is a rope wall. I reach as high as I can and feel the rope grip in my hands as I lift myself off the ground. The wall swings my body back and forth as I climb each level up. I grab the next row of ropes and feel my leg go through the hole. I lose my grip and fall. I catch hold of the rope before I tumble to the ground. I lift myself up and climb to the top. My arms are scratched from where the rope cut me with its course fibers.
There is a long tunnel with punching bags swooshing in front of me. I know I will not come out unscathed. I try to duck around the bags, only to be hit in the head and my sides. I know there will be bruises under my shirt that night. The bags are heavy and hit me with a force that makes me stumble as I pass through them. But I make it.
I am at the top of a slide. The shiny metal glares at me. I know the only way out is to go down to the bottom. I sit down on the hot seat and push myself down. I feel butterflies as I go over the bumps and my stomach drops. I hit bottom.
I stay there for a minute to get my bearings. I am in a dark hallway. There are strobe lights flashing and scary faces laughing at me. They are laughing at my faulty decision to enter this funhouse. It had tricked me with bright lights of intention, only to be led here in the dark. I see the sign in the corner of the room. It says exit. I get up and work my way to my exit. I try not to listen to the voices screaming at me. I get closer. Closer. I am through the door. It is light out.
I walk down a hall of mirrors. I look in the first; I am short and chubby. The next, I am stretched out. Then, I have a big head and small body. The next, I am wavy. Then finally I see me. I stand there looking at myself. I am no worse for wear than I was when I entered, just a little disheveled. I am ready to get out.
I can see the exit. It’s the same clown at the entrance, except this black and white clown is grimacing at me as if I am tempting fate by leaving. He wants to trap me in his funhouse. With my heart pounding in my chest, I grab the sides of the tunnel and push my body through the twirling, twisting passage. I make it through to the other side. I am free.
I look back at the clown that had held me captive in his fun house. His smile seemed weaker, he seemed much smaller than when I first walked into his maze. The twists and turns that had bumped and bruised me, made me stronger now. I look back one more time at him, my heart filled with hate at his deceit and abuse; I look at him one more time and walk away.