I am walking on a wooded trail with a friend deep in conversation when two women on rollerblades zip past. In their wake, they leave only fresh air and a sudden, surprising hankering for days long gone. As I watch them whoosh by, I recall the old leather shoe smell and disco beat of the rollerskating rink where I spent many childhood Sundays – skating around and around, going faster and faster, feeling free.
I ache for those afternoons and that very sensation until the next weekend when I try on used skates and take them for a test drive with Annie, my eight year old daughter, as my coach. Turns out the skates are brake-less and I fall once, twice. But Annie stands by me (well, really right in front of me — keeping me steady.) I’m awkward and clumsy but still, the feeling is there, that old anything is possible pulse in the pit of my stomach. As I stand and wobble, clinging to Annie as well as to any available tree, sign or wall, it hits me that I’ve traded in my usual grown up “I’ve got it all together, no worries about me” for a self that’s more raw, less polished, vulnerable and much more fun. Though I probably won’t wear skates to a client meeting (unless, a client asks really, really nicely) I’m going to do my best to hold fast to this feeling, the freedom of imperfection.
As I grow more confident, I cling to Annie less, doing my best to skate alongside her. “Mommy, do you know everyone is looking at you?” Annie whispers out of the corner of her mouth. “Of course they are. It’s not everyday they get to see how good possibility feels,” I tell her as we zip by leaving only fresh air and longings behind.