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;