Remember how clunky they were?
Heavy? How you had to have stout shoes to even attempt them? Not loafers, because they’d just pop off your feet carrying the weight of those wheels and those heavy clamps that fit around your toes. The ones that needed the key, and you had to have the key with you on a chain or in a grownup’s pocket or else you’d be locked in them forever. Like wearing shoes of stone. Shoes of iron like in the fairytale where the woman danced herself to death in the red-hot shoes.
And the pavement never worked. There were always cracks and bumps and a certain grain in the concrete that was filled with stones so you had to continually stumble and seek in the distance for a smooth expanse.
Texture was everything. The park had these spots that were smooth but there were strollers and toddlers and ice-cream carts. Besides, you had to roll all the way there, get off of curbs and negotiate those fissures and cracks. When you got to the park you were tired of the whole endeavor. It was all in all a terrible disappointment. Get out the key. Your feet slapping flatly against the hard it wasn’t worth it street.
But on ice was different.
You carried sharp blades on top of white shoes, delicate lace up like in the old days boots, and you only put them on outside. Sissies put them on inside, he told you and since you and he were not that you sat on the bench outside, and went over the blue line, of the threshold, and then you began. He liked it cold and he taught you to like it, although you didn’t really – it was not your nature to like extremes of temperature. But he loved it so much. He was happiest on ice, it seemed. There was a lightness to him that there wasn’t’ usually. You knew his darkness already though you were young. Here he was released into something like freedom, and that freed you up too. Because you wanted him to be free. Because you knew he had freedom and lightness in him. Which meant you had it. Which meant there was hope for the two of you.
So you plunged into the crowd of somewhat wobbly urbane gliders. Though you couldn’t do tricks you could skate fast, and you skated fasted with him because he was tall and he could move fast and he never wore a coat only a jacket and a scarf and gloves and he moved with such authority that you could go round and round, and as the session got later and it got colder, the ice opened up and there was a lot of room, and so you went faster and faster with more and more grace, and the night fell, because you went in the afternoon and not in the morning, and there you were: together as the street lights came on, and the lights in the big buildings illuminated the statue of the god god who presided over the ice.
You went around and around, your arm in the crook of his, and as you think about it, you can hear the blades cutting through the ice, and you forget about the disappointment of the iron shoes of summer trundling over the pavement towards the park, and you think instead of this:
Of your surprising small feet cutting over whiteness, and lights and the moon, and how much you – at this moment – loved him. And how much he – at that same moment— loved you.