It’s January 15th! I hope you’ve published your story and come to link up! Your assignment was to write a complete story in 500 words or less using the scenario below to kick-start your thinking.
You received a set of clunky, old-fashioned roller skates from the oldest, most eccentric member of your family. The skates appear to be too small, so you try to return them. S/he insists you try them on. You decide to humor him/her. To your amazement the skates fit. Suddenly you are overcome with the urge to skate and … (tell us what happens next in 500 words or less).
The rollerskates had to be 50 years old. The leather was cracked and peeling. The shoelaces were broken and knotted together. They’d probably disintegrate if I pulled on them. Besides, it was obvious the skates were too small. I was irritated. I couldn’t believe Nana had called me away from work to give me this obviously worthless — gift. But she was old and not as sharp as she once was, so to humor her I sat down and tried to put one of the stupid things on.
My foot slid into place easily. The skate fit like it was made for me. I looked at Nana and she smiled. I donned the other skate and stood. Incredible. They shouldn’t have fit but they did. They fit my feet. They fit my soul. I wanted to fly!
I pushed away, and then remembered myself and looked back at Nana sitting on the park bench. She smiled. “You go ahead dear, I’ll be fine right here.”
And I was gone. It was as if the skates weren’t even there and I was gliding on air. I leaned forward and put on speed. It was nearing twilight in mid-October. The leaves would soon be turning. The weather was a little nippy and the park was almost deserted.
The ancient, uneven sidewalks seemed to smooth out in front of me as I placed one foot in front of the other. My long brown hair streamed behind me and my arms pumped. The air was crisp. It smelled like fresh cut grass and wood smoke. I remembered learning to skate with Pop-Pop and Nana holding my hands. Nana was younger and more vibrant then, and Pop-Pop was big and tall and strong.
I remembered Pop-Pop’s funeral. After he died, I didn’t have time to skate. That next week I left for college where there was no time for skating. And after college came work. As a doctor I knew the value of exercise, but when could I fit it in? The hours I worked to prove myself and secure my position at the hospital prohibited leisure activities.
From the way I felt that day on those old skates with the crisp air nipping at my cheeks and filling my lungs, I knew I needed to make time — time for skating and time for a life. I couldn’t even remember when I’d last been out on a date.
I rolled back to where Nana waited on the bench. Her eyes were closed. I reached out and touched her shoulder. She didn’t waken.
That was twenty-eight years ago. Today I am taking my grand-daughter rollerblading for the first time. The day Nana died she gave me more than a pair of old skates, she gave me back my life. She gave me a future.