The inspiration for this little walk down memory lane came from a post I read at CUSS.
Do you remember being twelve? I do. I remember turning twelve and thinking to myself, "Only six more years and I don't have to do anything I don't want to." It was a very liberating feeling.
I also remember it as the time of the roller rink. Friday nights. The smell of bad pizza and the sound of popular music and video games. From seven to nine on Friday nights I was free of my parents and able to do just about anything I wanted. Okay, so at the age of twelve this meant eating to much and failing to flirt with the boys I thought were cute, but still. It was a time and a place where I could taste the freedom I was dreaming of. My friends and I would meet up and spend two hours discussing all the really important things. Who had how many friendship rings. Who we liked and didn't like and most importantly which boys were looking at us and which boys were not. It was goundbreaking stuff.
As I got older, the rollerskating craze died out. We moved on to other entertainments. Innocent giggles and whispers behind our hands gave way to more adult talk and less innocent pursuits. The joy I felt at anticipating my 18th birthday began to fade as I learned what it really meant...a job, bills and less time to do the things I loved.
The memory of being twelve never left me though. I hung around in my mind like a friend you only see once or twice a year.
Two years ago, shortly after I had my son, my husband and I were at the local thrift store browsing. In the back room, hidden under old baseball gloves and dented bike helmets I found a pair of white ladies rollerskates. I got all kinds of nostalgic and excited and gladly laid out the $5.00. At home with my new found piece of childhood I put them on and after a couple of turns around the kitchen table, I went outside to bask in the feeling of the wind on my face and sun in my hair.
I realized two things almost instantly: (1) I hadn't rollerskated in twenty years and (2) I lived on a hill.
Now, these two things may not mean much by themselves, but combined with the wheels attached to my feet....well, you get the idea.
The little girl across the street stood in her driveway and watched me, a puzzled expression on her face. As I slammed into the tree at the end of my drive, she asked asked me what I was doing. When I said, "Rollerskating," she shook her head and said, "You aren't very good at it are you?" I laughed, clung to the tree and replied, "No. No I'm not very good at it."
And then I began to laugh. I had come outside to relive a part of my childhood and falied miserably, but the feeling of being twelve, of discovering myself and something new was clinging with me to that tree in that moment. I slid down to the sidewalk and took the skates off. I hadn't laughed that hard in years.