I remember how they smelled. We weren’t extremely wealthy,
so mine weren’t made of leather or anything like that. It was more of a plastic smell, mixed
with the scent of summer and outside. I could smell them even before I put them on, and I can sense the aroma even now, 23
years later, as I reminisce.
They were blue with one white and one red curvystripe up each side.
My mom got me some special glittery fat laces for them, so
I didn’t have to use the plain old white ones. Mine were red
and called attention to my fancy feet as I rolled up and down the street. That and two puffy white pompons laced
in, one on each toe.
As I slid the boots onto
my feet I was transformed. I became someone special, a star.
No one else, no bullies,
no catty classmates, no heckling brother, nobody
could tell me what to do, how to do it or where – for a brief
moment, I was my own boss, at ten. I pulled up my fancylaces.
I hooked them into the eyelets, making sure
that they firmly hugged my ankles, ‘cause that’s how I liked them to feel on my feet.
And I started off.
They had just repaved our street, so I had the most professional surface to skate on. Up and down, I never stopped until the sun went down or
my mother made me come in for dinner...whichever came first. Swirling around in circles,
going fast and straight on, so fast that I could feel myself
almost lose control, then slow and cool -and all the time thinking,
and not thinking, imagining – imagining my fans watching me,
figuring out a new way to skate better backwards, seeing how fast I could actually go, and preparing,
for the day we went to the rink.
OHHHH, the rink. Slicksmoothwoodfloors, everything was
so much easier – If you looked cool going up and down your street, man, you really looked cool at
the rink. My purple unicorn shirt, my Jordash™ jeans (that I waited sooooooo long to have
in my possession) my white and purple stripedleg warmers and...my awesome, mint skates. The music! Steve Miller Band, Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper,
Styx, Journey...maybe a boy would ask me to skate with him,
his sweaty hand in mine
as we swirled round and
round. I remember that we would have to hold on tighter around
the curves, so that our hands wouldn’t slide away. The boys
always wore black skates – it wasn’t cool for them to wear colors
or glitter or pompons,
logically. Although, there was always one who did – either his
mom made him borrow his sister’s skates, or
he was just special, and would later become an artist, or singer
or showman or something like that.
But most importantly, I remember the feeling of freedom and
fun moments. So much that 23 years later I went out and bought
myself some skates. Just some classic white ones – I skipped the glitter and the pompons, of course.
And I sat down on my step, a familiar feeling of excitement
filled my stomach as I laced them up. I had tried them on at
the store, and it seemed that I still had it! Once laced up,
I set off. My plan was to skate down to the end of my street
where there is no traffic. The streets in Madrid aren’t like
the streets in my home town. They haven’t been recently paved.
They certainly aren’t flat. I started off down a hill...faster
and faster....I saw all those years between 10 and 33 pass before
my eyes, faster than the 10 line subway train. Oh my God!! I
am a lot taller than I was at ten! As my legs froze,
I gained speed, yet I was still lucid enough to recognize my two choices – a cement wall about 10
yards in front of me, or an old white parked car, 2 yards away....I
went for the car. As I was sure that it would be much softer
than the cement wall. Not much, but a bit softer it must have
been. Even so, I am now sitting here, writing this with a beautiful bruise and a scrape along my left cheek (my
face cheek, in case you were thinking otherwise) and a black
and blue elbow with three
beautiful scabs, covering
up what was about 2 minutes of embarrassment, blood and pain.
I do apologize to
the owner of the now white and red car parked
on the street. I never even got to my destination. And there
sit my new white skates...waiting to be taken
for a spin. Waiting to bring back some beautiful
memories for me, yet still threatening me with the little splatter of blood that remains on the left one.
wealthy – someone who possesses a lot property,
companies, etc. (noun: wealth) leather – this material is made from animal
skin – it’s used for making purses, shoes, etc. even – (this is a adverb which is used as
an intensifier to indicate that something is unexpected) reminisce - to recall and/or tell about past
experiences or events in a nostalgic way. curvy – a line that is arced, not straight.
(noun: curve) stripe - this is a thick (not thin) line
(say, on clothing). glittery – to be brilliant with small bits
of light-reflecting material (noun: glitter) laces – long thin things on shoes used to
attach these shoes to your feet fancy – highly decorated puffy – inflated pompons – a decorative ball for clothes and
cheerleaders bully– a cruel and cowardly person who likes
to intimidate smaller and/or weaker people catty – doing or saying something in a subtle,
cruel and malicious way heckle – trying to embarrass and annoy with
irritating questions, comments, etc. pull up – to put something on or pull in
an upwards direction (synonym: perhaps to “put on”, in this
context) hook – to catch something with a hook-like
part. eyelets – small holes in clothes and shoes
for a cord to pass through hug – to hold closely, perhaps with your
arms repave – to pave or cover a street again
in preparation for vehicles (basic verb: repave) swirl – move in a circular or spiral direction rink – an area covered with ice for ice skating
and hockey. slick – a smooth, glossy and slippery surface
or area smooth – having a surface with no irregularities wood – a material produced from trees and
used in construction floor – the surface in a room on which people
stand cool – a little cold unicorn – a mythical horse with a single
horn in its head leg warmers – big socks used to cover your
legs and keep them warm awesome – synonym of: remarkable, wonderful,
incredible, etc. mint – a light green color (in this context) skates – sports shoes
with little wheels, verb: to use those sports shoes. sweaty – wet with perspiration (noun: sweat) slide – to move over a surface smoothly and
with continuous contact (past simple: slid) borrow – to take something from someone with
the intention of returning it. skip – to intentionally fail to do something freeze – to turn to ice lucid – mentally rational in an especially
clear and transparent way bruise – a mark on the skin caused by a hematoma
or broken blood vessel (verb: same) scrape – a mark on the skin caused when the
skin comes into contact with an object which removes some
of the skin (verb: same) cheek – the fleshy parts of the face directly
beneath the eyes and on either side of the nose elbow – the joint in the arm that joins the
lower part of the arm to the upper part scabs – little bits of dried blood and tissue
that cover cuts in the body’s skin which help the healing
process apologize – to say you’re sorry owner – the person to whom a piece of property
belongs take for a spin – a colloquial expression
which means to take for ride in or on a vehicle threaten – to give warning as a source of
danger (in this context) splatter – a small amount of a liquid on
an object (verb: to splatter)