My son just received a Birthday party invitation to “United Skates of America”, a place I always thought was only for inline skating, something I tried in my earlier 20’s with the attempt of bringing back my late childhood and early teens passion: roller skating. It never worked out. I never understood why roller-skating had to fade out only to have these new weird inline roller blades that made something that was so natural to me now so difficult. I tried couple times and for whatever reason, I gave up.
This party invitation brought me back to when I was about eight years old, waking up on a Christmas Day and rushing up along with my sisters to see what Santa had brought us. I have no recollection what I got, but I do remember what my sister got: a pair of metal roller skates. They were so shinny, so beautiful, so cool. Why I didn’t get that, why? My mom explained I was too young for that and besides, I didn’t know how to roller skate ans she did; maybe in the next year or so, if I was good, Santa may bring me a pair of those too.
In a year or so? Could it be now? Could I borrow my sisters’ in the time being? “No, you cannot” my sister said, “not even on your best day.” So I had to conform myself watching her on the street rolling and rolling back and for with the biggest grin. Can I borrow them? “No.” Please? “No.” I’ll clean your room… No. I’ll give you my allowance for the whole month… “No.” I’ll do anything, please! “NO, NO, and NO!”
Sigh and more sigh… I felt what peas feel without the carrots, like a cake without the frosting, like popcorn without the butter. A child wanting something so bad, and there was no one around to advocate for her noble cause?? As days went by, I realized I had to do something. This situation could no longer be. I had to try those metal roller skates no matter what. Then, my plan, my master plan called for patience. My mom always said patience gets you everywhere, right? And so I waited.
School break was over and we were going back the next day. That night I hardly slept going over my plan. My sister attended middle school from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. I started school from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm; the morning was long and the world was my oyster. All I had to do was wait. I waited this long, I patiently waited a little more.
And then, she was gone. Gone for good part of the day. I grabbed the metal skates and a broomstick; tip toed all the way to the door and to the street. And that was it. I had them on and they were mine, mine, mine. As I felt taller, I fell. Aided with the broomstick I did stand up and fell again, and again, and again. But for every time I fell, I got up and started skating again helped with the broomstick. And suddenly, I felt the air in my face; it felt so good. That was the Zen moment, the a-ha moment that I got it. I was roller-skating and this time for good.
For the next eight years, I roller-skated almost every single day for at least five hours. I felt free as I went through the streets at high speed; bending, jumping, going backwards, in circles; I always thought, this is what birds must feel when they fly. It was absolute power. I wasn’t just roller-skating, I WAS FLYING. I even won couple races and some trophies. I was a true Roller-Skater.
As cruel as life is, time went by, I started college and I moved on to other things. I tried roller-skating few times again in my twenties only to be frustrated with the inline skating. That’s why when my husband told me that in this place also you can roller skate, my eyes lit up, responded with a big YES without even asking my son. Roller-skating? I’m in. I’ll be rolling skating with a bunch of eight year olds but who cares; for once I will be one of them too and hey, I may start it all over again.