|"Gaining Momentum" oil on canvas Sold|
Even though it's too early in the season to post this, I wanted to get it out there because I know darned well I'll forget to do so this winter. I wrote this in a workshop at The Loft the other night; the prompt was to finish this sentence: "It wasn't my idea to...." Try it yourself; it can lead to some interesting memories!
It wasn't my idea to go to the the park that winter afternoon so long ago, but Andi had been watching the Olympics figure skaters so I wasn't surprised when I heard her call from the other room, "I wanna try that, Mom."
It never was hard to talk me out of my list of housecleaning chores, so I wrapped a muffler around my six-year-old's neck, pulled her Kermit the Frog hat over her ears, and grabbed our skates. Off to the park we drove.
The hiss of steam in the warming house, the smell of wet wool, the thunk of skate blades as skaters thumped their way down the wooden ramp to the ice rink elicited warm memories of my own days as a teenager when I tried so hard to emulate the fancy moves I used to see on our grainy black and white TV set. This was a good idea. I couldn't wait to help my first-grader out onto the ice.
And so we took off, each of us in our private imaginary worlds: she in her future life as a high scoring, axel jumping athlete, me in my 25-year-old memory of myself as a high school junior, trying so hard to catch the eye of the classmate on whom I'd had a crush for quite some time.
"Cute little girl. Yours?" I startled at the male voice that jabbed itself into my reverie, jolting me back to the present. I mumbled something in the affirmative and continued to skate, praising Andi on her newly acquired stopping technique.
"She's really pretty. She looks like you." He did a quick 180, skating backwards in front of us, blocking our forward moves with his bulky, obese body.
My internal radar went on high alert.
"Do you live near here?" he asked.
"We live really close," my daughter said, sensing my reluctance and no doubt wondering why her normally talkative mother was now so reticent.
By now we were half way around the rink. I wanted so badly to go back to a few minutes earlier when my biggest challenge was to relive my teenage memory. It was becoming apparent that this jerk just wasn't going to leave us alone! I gave up and said something to Andi about how we needed to get back home and start supper, promising her that we'd return soon.
Back in the car, my daughter reminded me once again just how astute she was at reading people. "Mom," she said, "MOM!" trying to get my attention as I maneuvered the car out of a tight parking spot. "That guy was flirting with you!"
"Huh?" I said, not really understanding her.
"Yeah! He's just like the boys at school except he didn't pull your scarf off!"
Come to think of it, we girls who twirled our way around Jackson Park's skating rink 30 years earlier judged whether the boys liked us by whether they pulled on our scarves.
"C'mon, honey," I said. "Let's go home. Let's talk about when it's OK to let a boy pull on your scarf and when it's not."