Remember the skating rink? Couples' skate and relay races and doing the limbo on wheels? I actually won the limbo once. It was at a rink in Kentucky, visiting with Mom's friend, Martha Music. She was a sort of godmother to me. That rink had a wooden floor, which was new to me. Our local Red Rink Rollerway had chipped bluish concrete with a raised red carpet rim all around the oval skate area. This wooden floor was wall-to-wall, a skater's paradise.
Other than the mandatory song for couples' skate, the roller rink was void of the social hierarchy I had become accustomed to at school. By 6th grade, I was clearly exempt from coolness and sent to struggle through adolescence on the sidelines of Junior High. But, at the rink, I could still have fun. Elizabeth and I used to go a lot, in my memory. There were Honor Roll parties each 9 weeks, and Liz and I were always on the A Honor Roll. Also, her orthodontist had a Halloween party for his patients at the rink once. Liz and I dressed up as two alien girls from a series of short stories I had been writing, and she had been helping me with. I cannot remember the girls' names, but I had based them on our perfect imaginary versions of ourselves, so we felt quite beautiful inside my tales of inter-planetary love and adventure. Is it any wonder I prefer C. S. Lewis' space trilogy even over Narnia? There is just something about the beautiful Venus.
Like I said, I was a pretty good skater. Not amazing. I won limbo once, but I seldom won the races, and I don't think I was EVER asked to participate in couples' skate. But, I loved it. I loved whizzing around the concrete and feeling like I could fly. I liked turning backwards and awing the small children who watched me go past. I was confident at the skating rink in a way I never was anywhere else. As a matter of fact, I made my first phone call to a boy from a pay phone at the skating rink.
Today, I took David to a birthday party for a friend from his classroom. On the pretense of being an involved parent, I promised him I would skate too. In reality, that promise to David was my excuse to lace up skates again, many many years past my remembered-glory days. I teetered across the carpet, touched the concrete rink, and then I was flying again.
David did not fare so well. He mostly clung to the carpeted wall around the rink and tumbled over his own feet every six inches. He was a good sport about his failure, laughing each time he hit the ground. After a while, I moved him to a carpeted area to practice, but he decided to move onto the arcade in sock-feet, with some of his friends. I tucked our jackets and his discarded skates into a corner and gave myself permission to fly.
I am not ready to play limbo again or enter any races, and I sure did not join in the game of Wipe Out that was played just before we left, but I had fun. How often, since growing up, do I have fun? Maybe I need to go to the skating rink more often. Perhaps, flying is good for me.