Friday, November 26, 2010

All You Need Is Love

All You Need Is Love played over the P.A. at an ice rink when I was quite young.
I couldn't yet stand up on my skates but was struggling to learn.

There was a girl called Colleen.

She went to my school, and on Saturdays she would ice skate with a trainer very early in the morning. She invited me to come join her on one of these skating lessons. I wrongly assumed that she often invited classmates to join her on these Saturdays. I accepted her invitation even though I didn't know how to skate. I sat in the stands and watched the prettiest, flashiest girl in the 3rd grade twirl around in a tiny skirt, lifting in the draft of her turns, exposing her little skater panties. I was hooked. She had a face on her that I can still see clearly in my mind. Even at 9 years old I was attracted to the prettiest, flashiest girl in the room.

I'm not sure what she was training for, but she did this every Saturday.

After her lesson ended, the rink opened and people came in to skate. She helped me rent some skates and sort of gently showed me how to stand on the ice - but I'm a stubborn student and didn't pick it up at all. I'm sure she got frustrated and had envisioned a much more romantic afternoon - perhaps skating round and round holding hands - but it didn't happen that way.

Eventually I left the rink and changed back into my socks and shoes and we went to the snack bar and had some watery powdered hot chocolate in a styrofoam cup. This also was not romantic.

I still had no clue that she might have invited me because she liked me, and missed that this had become a kind of a date. I had no idea it would be so hard to stand on the ice on thin metal blades (WTF?!?!?) and I was hyper focused on trying not to fall on my ass, because when I did it was painful and humiliating. Who can think about romance under those circumstances?
Her mother picked us up and we got in her station wagon.
Date over.

I wildly misinterpreted her one-time gesture as an open invite and tagged along - not just once, but twice or three times. My mom would drive me to her house and I would ride with her and her mom to the rink. I would sit in the bleachers and eat mini pizzas while she twirled around in her tiny skirt. When the lesson ended and the rink opened to the public I would put on my rented skates, get on the ice and drag myself around the rink holding the railing as she flew by again and again.

She grew weary of this ritual and on at least one occassion she made sure to leave her house with her mom a

few minutes early in a successful attempt to avoid me.

I guess my mom knew what was up and so the next week she drove me to the rink herself and told me she was gonna teach me to skate. My mom had been a semi-professional ice skater in her youth and knew she could teach me to stand up on my skates - which she did. (Thank you mom). The first time she let go of my arms and I successfully skated on my own, All You Need Is Love came over the murky P.A. It was a warm and fuzzy moment of realization as I skated tentatively round the rink- but by myself. I was able to skate up to Colleen as she expertly handled herself - but she was neither impressed or interested in me any longer.

She had moved on some time ago I realized.
My Mom on skates 

Colleen and I continued on similar paths graduating to junior high and then high school. I heard a rumor about her "going all the way" with a guy during a film in a biology class, but that was never verified and I took it with a LARGE grain of salt, as most things boys said about girls in Junior High were not true. 

At one point we found ourselves sitting next to each other in a math class that neither one us was smart enough to understand. We bonded over that - we even reminisced about the past, and she confessed to me about how she had left early to avoid me on those early skating Saturday mornings. She was refreshingly candid, and still looked great. She was still the prettiest and flashiest girl in the room - now dressing in Dolphin™ shorts and terry cloth tube tops - which as the fashion at the time, drove all us boys into a deep frenzy.

A few years ago, I tried to get back on the ice with some friends.

They were novices, trying to learn themselves, and had started going frequently, and they invited me. When I joined them, I confidently rented my skates and laced 'em up and proceeded to the ice which took me down almost immediately. I subsequently tried to stand again, but I was lost.
I was done.

I retired to the part of the building farthest from the ice, returned my skates and sat there waiting for my friends to finish.

Ice skating and me are done.

But today whenever I hear All You Need Is Love I think of skating on my own for the first time - my mother letting go of me and showing me the way to soar.

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