Roller skating cures the passage of time
A man came to my house two weeks ago hauling a trailer and carrying $2,000 in cash. He handed over the money and took away my little truck, along with a big chunk of my past.
My little truck was a cherished symbol of my first truly grown-up years. I bought it nearly 11 years ago, when I was 24, and I drove it 3,000 miles a month in my first job with a newspaper in North Georgia. I took my little truck camping and biking with the boyfriend who would become my husband. We renovated our first house with the help of the little truck, hauling plaster and lathe and linoleum to the dump.
We didn’t really need the little truck anymore. I have a station wagon to haul groceries and kids. And my husband recently bought a four-door truck so he can haul both kids and lumber for his woodworking business. But it was hard to let go of that dented, fading relic of our starting-out.
“Did you tell him to take care of my truck?” I asked my husband, who handled the transaction while I took our youngest son to hear bluegrass music at Greenway Farm. “Did you tell him your wife loves that truck?”
My husband, who is a good and patient man, told me a happy story about the guy who came from Manchester, Tenn., to get my truck — how he already has a truck just like it, but with way more miles on it, and he wants another one.
“My truck will have a friend!” I crowed.
A week later I was still feeling a little bummed about the truck when we got a phone call inviting my family to a birthday party at a roller skating rink.
“I haven’t roller skated in at least 25 years,” I told the host. “The kids have never roller skated.”
That was OK, my friend assured me. We’d all get together and try it, and the kids would have a ball. And my husband promised me that if I knew how to roller skate 25 years ago, I would still know how.
“I was a killer rollerskater,” I bragged. “I practically grew up at Skate Town. They played ‘Funkytown’ all the time, and I had cool skates with red and blue stripes.”
So we went, my 7-year-old insisting he had no interest in skating; my 2-year-old fascinated by the flashing lights and pounding music; my husband tempted by the possibility of seeing his wife roller skate (and maybe fall comically).
I rented a pair of skates and looked at my oldest son.
“Will you walk next to me and hold my hand?” I asked him.
He did, escorting me patiently around the rink until I realized that, good grief, I still know how to roller skate. I took off, wobbly but thrilled, and as I glided back toward him my son announced that he wanted to try it, too.
And that’s how I got over my truck. My son and I went roller skating together. He is 7 and still learning, and in my mind I am 9 years old, holding his hand while we roll, and sometimes stumble, around the skating rink. The music is still as bad as it was back when ‘Funkytown’ was hot, the sound of the wheels on the hardwood is exactly the same, and falling still hurts.
Parting with my little truck made me feel as if I was losing a piece of my past, but it’s good to know I can always be 9 years old again for the price of a pair of rented skates.