18 February 2008
10 and... she's down
as a kid, i longed to be a figure skater. i think this is fairly common. because for little girls, there's nothing quite so graceful and glamorous (other than hoopskirts) as the thought of wearing next to nothing (half of which is flesh-colored tulle), lacquering on a shit ton of makeup, putting on white boots and effortlessly gliding across a sheet of ice on a 4mm blade.
that's not to say that i ever went effortlessly gliding across a sheet of ice. what few efforts i made wrought nothing resembling a glide, so i contented myself with dancing about my bedroom like a maniac in my mum's discarded slips, choreographing- on carpet, in socked feet- masterpieces soundtracked to michael bolton's greatest hits. the end result? a sprained ankle, a broken arm and a bloody nose. thus ended my "skating" career.
until today. when, rendered somewhat insensible by my recent travels through significantly warmer climes, i brazenly strode upon the sidewalk in boots with 3" heels. a step and a half in, i hit the ground. i fell in front of the house of the little old lady who waters her flowers every summer evening when i'm walking home. the little old lady i always smile at in that "don't i remind you of your favorite granddaughter" way. that's where i fell.
but this wasn't just a fall. it was the culmination of three years of fear- fear that i would fall on the ice, that i would break a leg, that i would be all alone in chicago and that i would be trapped in a 4th floor apartment for a whole summer and only escape into the open at winter's return. this was the realization of that fear.
it was also perhaps the most graceful topple ever managed by anyone in human history. a tumble so smooth and soundtracked so splendidly by benoît pioulard, that i was aware of the fact that i was smiling and judging my own fall as flawlessly perfect even as i was in the process of falling down. scott hamilton would've swooned.
then there i was: flat on the ground, the entire length of my left leg covered in a streak of snow soon to be replaced by a glory of a bruise.
in my excitement at having survived my great winter fear and my agitation at being unexpectedly ripped from a retirement i'd imposed since lillehammer, i did what every glamorous, graceful girl does.
i said, FUCK. loudly.
only then did i look up and see the little old lady, standing 3 feet away.