A Double

In her mind she was another Kristi Ymaguchi. She thought she was so beautiful and graceful on the ice, and when she skated she was sure everyone was admiring her.

A triple lutz. A sit spin. A double toe loop. She could do them all and loved to show them off at the mall ice rink in her rhinestone studded costume.

She especially loved skating there when Charlie was working the snack bar. He was so cute in his little snack bar uniform.

Charlie was two years older - a senior! He skated too, but for the hockey team, and he had the removable front tooth to show for it. Imagining his gap-toothed smile gave her a little rush.

Maybe it was thinking of Charlie that distracted her while lacing her skates.

She was out on the ice. Speeding past the kids holding their parents’ hands, past the awkward boys her age stumbling around the rink. She was coming to the point closest to the snack bar and Charlie.

This was going to get his attention she thought as she planted her right foot and went to throw her left leg up with such power that it would lift her into the sky for a towering double twist.

Just then the long lace from her left boot, which had come undone, caught under her right skate. Instead of launching her upward, her left leg thrust was stopped abruptly and she was thrown forward, onto the ice, onto her knees, hands, and chin.

As if the fall weren’t embarrassing enough, she could hear herself crying from the shock and pain radiating across her face. Other skaters paused to see if she was okay, and once they decided she was, they went back to skating. Through her tears, she was pretty sure she heard a few of the boys chuckling.

“You okay?” She lifted her head a little higher off the ground to see. It was Charlie. Smiling. “Nice jump” he said sarcastically without sounding mean. “They didn’t teach you how to lace your skates at ice princess camp?” That stung a little, but still he sounded like he was trying to distract her from the pain.

“They do, but I flunked the class” she said, still sounding shook up but trying to put on a brave face. Charlie held out his hand to help her up. She took it. “I was top of my class in lacing, I could tutor you” he laughed.

Her knees, hands and chin were hurting and starting to bruise. Her legs were wobbly. She could still feel the heat in her face from the public humiliation. But as she felt Charlie’s strong grip lead her off the ice, she realized that might have the best jump of her life.

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