Friday nights at the skating rink, every Friday in Jr. High. It’s what we did – beg, borrow, or steal 5 bucks and a ride, and that would cover a coke and the skate rental. Friday nights were High School Football – so it was just us kids.
He was tall and lean. He wore his hair slicked with cream – and I thought it looked very classy. My father wore his hair that way in a picture I had from when I was a baby. Watching him skate was watching magic. He had a masculine, powerful grace – a gentleness and a patience. I could watch him skate for hours. I thought he was beautiful. I also thought I didn’t deserve his attention.
It was the day after my birthday, 1979 – a friday at the skating ring. The last skate of the night was a always couple skate and I was usually there alone, so I sat down to start taking off my skates. He skated up and put out his hand – Such a beautiful gentleman – and asked me to skate. My voice fell into my feet – and I tried to nod while I took his hand and let him pull me to him. He skated backwards, and I awkwardly hung on, letting him lead – I figured it was like dancing or riding passenger on a motorcycle – my job was to be the least amount of drag and flow with the leader. And we did flow – around and around the rink….in the dark – the colored lights and disco ball on the ceiling swirling around. And the song was “Reminiscing” by The Little River Band. While his eyes were usually looking over his shoulder, weaving us through the other skaters, his hands were gentle and easy on my hips, his fingertips telling me which way we were going next. The song ended, and we were at the far back of the rink. He slowed us to a stop, and let my momentum carry me into him gently. He gently brushed my lips with his and I felt his metal braces catch on my chapped lip. It was magic.
And I did what I’ve always done in that situation – I turned around and ran away.
This is one of those memories I have that I don’t play what if – I don’t rewrite – I don’t second guess. I had forgotten about it – with a lot of other things – for a while. But I remember now. I’m remembering more and more every day.