I am in the halls of my high school. Lights are bright and there is no ceiling. I am screaming at people to get out of my way, waving my hands frantically, jumping the stairs, whipping past the office. I am a comedy bit that ends poorly. Always in a pile in front of the library. And then my mouth fills with the taste of onion...
I don't know where the dream comes from. I hadn't put on a pair of roller skates since I was 17 when I used to go to The Forum and wait for boys to ask me to 'couple skate' to Guardian's Never Gonna Say Goodbye.
Needless to say, when my sister invited us to the free Family Day roller skating at the ancient rink beside her house, I was a little apprehensive.
"I'm scared," I whispered to Noa as I tightened up her skate.
"But you're a grown-up, Mommy," she told me wisely.
Poor girl, she was the one who took a tumble before we even got out to the floor. Big tears and a crowd of spectators who didn't try to help while I struggled to lift her back up without my own wheels slipping out from under me.
"Don't let me fall, Mommy!"
"I won't, baby, but you have to help me too."
Our whole life can be spent afraid of falling; sitting on the sidelines because we're afraid of scraped knees and bruised egos.
I want to live life in the spirit of my boys - that Liam wild-star who goes at everything full speed and falls and falls and bounces back up like he's made of rubber. And Zander, so awkward and unathletic but really really doing it and laughing and red-faced and HAVING FUN!
Sweet Noa, one hand so tight in mine and her arm tense like a branch, her other hand holding the edge of the sideboards like a life preserver. Slowly. Slowly. With her little fingers clinging firm I find a rhythm with my feet and slowly, slowly coax her from the wall.
And we're doing it. She's doing it. And it's fun and it's strange and we're doing it!
I look along the edge, at the parents sitting, observing instead of living, and I know how easy it would have been for me to be too afraid and it makes me terribly sad. Then Liam whizzes by me, his grin breaking his face and I know he loves me more now because I'm right there with him and his goofy smile says, 'Mom, you're kinda awesome!' and he laughs as he slaps my bottom and I squeal louder than the crackling speakers.
I am much more afraid of missed chances than I am of falling. A bruise fades long before a memory does. Life is about living. And learning. And growing. And roller skating even when you're scared.
I wonder if my dream will change now that I've faced the beast...?