Clinging to the Ledge

I went ice skating for the first time on Monday. Well, I tried to ice skate at least. For a gal who has very little coordination, I was simply thrilled to stand up in the skates. I was pulled toward the rink, where kids and adults flew past me in effortless abandon. It took me back to junior high, when I’d tried to roller skate. It wasn’t a good memory. Balance is not my strong point.ImageI slipped into the rink. Slipped, yes. I held onto the side of the rink. There was a narrow–I wouldn’t call it a rail–edge of the wall just below the plexiglass. I think I made claw marks.

I froze. My legs would not move.This is impossible, I thought. I am going to die. Those were my thoughts. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Much.

I looked at my daughter, holding onto the puny ledge ahead of me. She looked back and grinned. “Come on, Mom!” she encouraged.

If she could cling to the sides and find joy in it, then certainly I could make myself do something. I pushed my heavy foot forward. Both feet decided to slide around.

Yep, I’m going to die. More claw marks. More petrification.

I looked up to see daughter number two a quarter of the way around the ledge. She was a pro in my eyes. My other daughter was waiting for me. “Are you coming?” she asked.

‘No,’ I wanted to say. ‘I’m high-tailing it back to the warmth of the snack counter.’ Then I looked toward the snack counter and met my husband’s eyes. They were laughing eyes. That irked me. He wasn’t even getting on the rink! How dare he laugh at me? That’s when I decided I would skate. I would skate plastered to the ledge for one whole lap.

I’ll show him, I thought.

So, around the rink I dragged myself, gripping the ledge for dear life and moving with snail-like velocity. Then the inevitable happened: I found someone as terrified as I was. She was moving in the opposite direction.

“It seems we’ve come to an impasse,” I said, looking at her–the fear on her face mirroring my own. You might be wondering why I made such a stupid observation, oozing with social ineptness. She didn’t. She could care less what I’d said.

“I’m horrified,” she got out.

I tried to nod in understanding and almost lost my balance. I backed up until she could reach an exit, looking forward to using the grooves her nails had etched in the ledge. I felt like a hero when she escaped.

I met a man on the other side of the glass who kept thwacking his knee. “My knee is fine!” I assured him, but he couldn’t hear me. I finally realized, halfway around the rink, he was trying to tell me to bend my knees. I tried it. I almost died.

But I made it. And would you believe I kept going? I slip-skate-slid around the rink five times. I even let go of the ledge for short, slippery intervals. My girls skated around and across the rink. They were my heroes.

I want to go back.

photo credit: <a href=””>Anomalily</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I write about this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come.

16 thoughts on “Clinging to the Ledge”

  1. Why, we must be balance-challenged twins, separated at birth! My sisters can skate like little skatey sprites, while my ankles disconnect themselves from the message relaying pathway of the brain. Good for you, Rilla!


    1. Aren’t skatey sprites annoying? For some reason they wouldn’t let me rent one of those skating walkers. Said it was for 4 and under or some foolishness… I’m glad you understand my experience. Thanks, Robin!


  2. Before the demise of my right knee, I really enjoyed roller skating. I never was able to do tricks on skates, but I could at least keep myself vertical. Ice skating looks so effortless when done by those who know how, but isn’t that true of everything? Proud of you for getting out there and bravely hanging on.


    1. Yeah, they make it look so easy. It was easier to ice skate than roller skate. It felt more natural somehow. But the rental skates were painful! Next time I’m taking extra socks and shoe inserts.


  3. Good for you! I ice skated a few times years ago, but I was never any good. I couldn’t turn corners. Finally, I gave up trying to improve. But it would be fun to give it a try again–assuming I don’t break anything, that is.


    1. Yep. Falling is not the same as it was when I was a kid. I would love to strap some pillows on. Do you think anyone would notice if I showed up looking like a giant marshmallow?πŸ™‚


  4. How about bubble wrap guards? I might try skates again if I had that kind of protection. As a teenager I could go forward just fine, but backwards? That was a foreign concept to my mind and body. Good for you for getting out there!


  5. I have to hand it to you, Rilla. At least you gave it all your best. My hubby ice skates, learned as a child. That, I believe, is the only way to learn these things. And when you become my age, you have to shy away for fear of breaking a hip, being laid up for months on end, until the lungs fill up with fluid – well then, we all know what comes after that. On that note, I’m professing that I’ll just stay off the ice. I mean, I’m petrified enough simply trying to navigate the icy driveway. See, your girls learned at a younf age. Let’s leave it to the young. But, again, I tip my hat to you.


    1. I’m petrified of icy driveways, too. It’s that lack of friction thing. I’d rather stop at the rate I’m used to stopping, especially when I’m inside a large machine being driven right beside the walls of my house!


    1. Seriously, I think it’s easier to balance than on roller blades, roller skates, or on a skateboard. Whenever you and hubby visit (soommmmedayyy), will you try it with me? I won’t take my camera. Promise.πŸ™‚


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