We pushed through the Double Doors, where I was almost run down by a little girl in a leotard, dragging a suitcase with lighted wheels. She didn't seem to notice me, even as she ran me down.
I went in, and there were more girls, in more leotards, all with suitcases. The sign above the counter said, "RENTALS". It was then that I noticed the skates. Ice skates. I had forgotten that this place was also an ice rink. Something in me twinged, then died again.
"Can you take some donated books?" I put the bag on the counter.
The lady there smiled, said yes, and accepted them gladly. K and I quickly left, back to Karate. Back to the Zen Master and the Hyperactive Ninja Brigade.
Three months later, the karate session ended. I forgot to sign K up for another round of classes. I just didn't have the energy to keep up with something I had to cheerlead like that. K didn't even notice. He went back to laying on the futon, watching spongebob and being lazy.
Fast forward another year. K is six. We're at one of our Fancy Lunches, where we sip drinks and eat fancy things like fish eggs and lox. Just another carefree day for us, and a song comes on over the loudspeaker.
K listens a moment. "I like this song."
"Yeah, me too," I sip my wine.
"You know," he says carefully. "Sometimes I imagine that I'm spinning and twirling to the music."
I frowned. I had done that, too. "What, like ice skating?"
"Uh, well, we live near an ice rink. Do you want to take lessons?"
"Okay, I'll sign you up for the next set of lessons, then."
We ate the rest of our fancy lunch in silence. I ordered another glass of wine. Something in me twinged again. Shit. None of this was supposed to happen this way.
I remembered my mom, "Do you know how much that costs? Five in the morning!" If you can make her voice echo like they make it do in the movies, then this is much more effective. "Five in the morning! morning! morning!"
But K wasn't Michelle Kwan. K was K. K was six. K was a quitter, and a crier. I shrugged, finished the meal, and went home.
The next evening I ran into a friend at a school event. I mentioned something about the skating to her. She got all excited and brought me the schedule for classes, encouraged me to "sign up right now," and said she'd see me there. When she was gone, I looked at it. Pre-Alpha? That was the class my friend had pointed to. Ages 5 through teen? $110? That wasn't so bad. Karate cost $110.
I looked at the rest of it. Beta. Gamma. Delta, and then "Freestyle" classes that numbered one through ten. Huh. There was a picture of an ice skate, and a pretty girl in a florid pose.
The next day, I called the number. I signed him up for Pre-Alpha 1. As I hung up the phone, I realized I didn't know anything about skating. I knew that ice skates themselves were items that required some knowledge, lest a child fall and get hurt. "Weak ankles," was what my mom had always said. Crap.
But that first class was three weeks away. I had time.