Unlike my last test, where I was up early and done with it early and then off for brunch, this test was really late in the day. So I had not much to do other than sit around, watch bad movies and text nonsense to my skating friends. And be nervous. I had my things all packed up, maps and skirts and all.
Stitch was on his way back from Scout camp, and he was texting me. Dad was trying to be reassuring but not helping. I puttered.
Finally I decided I'd had enough and decided to get on the road. Rink FarFarAway was an hour's drive and I always get lost when in the far suburbs. Always. I would rather be early than late, so I took off. I detoured past Skate Shop in their new location for fresh tights, said hello to them, and took off again where I promptly got confused about where I was.
I was lost only momentarily, misjudging distance, and found the right road again. Now heading west, I turned up the music to ramp up the positive flow, blew down the road and missed my turn. When I hit a residential street that said, "Local Traffic Only," I turned around and consulted my map again. I had skipped a step. There was a northern turn before the road where the rink was. Okay.
Once I fixed that, I found Rink FarFarAway and headed in. There was the Testing Aura in the lobby; hushed voices, kids warming up, moms and coaches consoling tearful testers who didn't have a good day. Coach Fab was there with another student, we nodded to each other and I dropped my Zuca in a corner and went into the rink to cool down. I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't like to use AC in the car. I settled in with my MP3 player and watched the Intermediate and Juvenile tests ahead of me. I watched Coach Fab's student, and she didn't seem to do too badly.
When she was done, Coach Fab came up to chat with me. "She seemed okay," I spoke of his student. "She looked good."
He smiled and laughed a bit when I explained why I was so early. I always have to figure in at least thirty minutes of literal Lost Time when driving in the suburbs. "You're okay up here? Just watching?"
I said I was fine and to please go take care of the other girl. He nodded and took off to go over results with her. Stitch was home and we texted back and forth. I apologized for missing his homecoming. I was getting into my Good Place. As time wore on I headed out to get into my new tights and testing outfit. I warmed up, stretched and ran into a Young Rink Friend who was also testing. She was in my Power Skating class, one of the girls who gets me to skate faster.
By now the nerves were starting to come. My knees were getting watery. The silence of that testing rink is like lead weight. It's hard. "God, just play some music and I'd do so much better," I thought every time I stuck my head in. I checked the schedule once again, and they had me down for the wrong tests: APBFree and APB Moves. I'd already passed ABP Moves. I texted Coach Fab who had disappeared momentarily, asking if he could make the correction. I started to pace.
Coach Fab reappeared and was all over me now, and for some reason that didn't help. "I've got it, I took care of it," he smiled. "The judges know what you're testing."
"Okay, great," and then we chatted about kids and family for awhile. A Coach Friend from Home Rink talked with us about Adult Championships in Germany. "You should go. All adult skaters should go just once. You'll love it," she smiled. Coach Fab didn't seem convinced, but I was ready to buy a plane ticket.
He kept on me. "Are you warm? Are you okay? Are your skates okay? Do you need anything?"
The only thing I wanted was to get it on with and done. Finally our group was called to warm up. And it was a lot of small skaters. Once on the ice, he told me to go right for the test, even though I would have preferred to take a lap and feel the ice out first. It was softer and faster, I could tell that right off. But I went right into the moves test. And nearly killed myself on the first element, pitching too far forward. I recovered and went right into the next one. I ran into trouble on the Mohawks, with the other kids running all over my pattern. I finished the line and Coach Fab and I agreed to run that one again.
I started again, got through three, and warmup was called. I trucked off. "Just relax," Coach Fab was trying to be encouraging and soothing, but for some reason that was just freaking me out more. I hate being fussed over. The first to Pre-Pre groups went, and then my group. Two other kids and me. The Adult. And I was called out as such, which annoyed me. But I laughed it off and kept going.
I didn't have the near-miss on the power stroking this time, having felt out the ice and knew how fast it was going to take me. Power 3's... the first turn was awkward, but as I predicted, once that was done I was fine. Back XO's into back edges, those are pure fun for me so that was actually a moment to relax and feel the wind in my hair. I just had to pray that whatever kiddo's were back there had their eyes open. Circle 8, my left leg, which I usually call "Old Reliable" was shaking like all hell and I had to fight to remain steady. What in god's green earth was happening? Mohawks... I took a breath and started on them... and then Little Sally Skater crossed right into my path and I had to correct to avoid hitting her and get back on track. Would the fail me for something that wasn't my fault?? I inwardly begged for a reskate. I can do these better!!
"Thank you," the judge smiled at me.
Okay, that is either good or very bad. No time to think about it, I was called out for Pre-Bronze Freeskate. I only had warmup time for one test, so now we were going to test jumps and spins without having warmed them up at all on this fast ice. I crossed my fingers and prayed for the souls of all the little spiders I'd saved over the past few months to come to my aid. Crossovers were a breeze, and I immediately turned in for a two foot spin. Wobbly but I saved it for the required three. I might have done four, all I know was that I spun and that was what counted. Turned back again, wound up, and did a one foot spin that would nix the wibble wobble of the two foot. Great. I landed out of it, shook off the dizzy, and went for the jumps. Waltz Jump, no worries. Salchow, it felt low and slow, but I was on my feet and I pushed forward to the end of the rink so I could spiral right past the judges on my bad leg why in the hell did I go up on my bad leg???!
I T-Stopped and turned, the judge smiled and said "Thank you!"
I stood there for a moment, as if to say, "You sure?" but I said thank you back and took off.
It was over. Coach fab handed me my guards and asked if they needed me to reskate anything. "No, I think we're good."
He nodded and said I'd done great, but I don't think he'd say anything else at that moment. We headed out into the lobby. Rink Friends came out to sit with me as we waited for results, and Rink Mom asked me how often I skate. "I take one day off the ice a week, and that depends on how tired I am, really. I skate six days a week."
Coach Fab smiled his approval of this. "You work hard," he agreed.
Rink Mom gushed about my work in the costume shop and during the shows to Coach Fab, which made me feel pretty good. "She makes everything go smoothly, she's such an inspiration."
I don't think Rink Mom knows about my Voodoo Doll hanging in the costume shop. But VooDoo is there so I can be calm when everyone else is losing their minds. I need VooDoo. I could have used VooDoo right there and then.
The referee came out with sheets, I took mine. I took a cursory glance at the bottoms. "One.... and two. Pass." I was so relieved I wanted to just sit down and let it wash over me. I handed the sheets off to Coach Fab for interpretation and did just that.
2.5's on most things and 2.6's on my back XO's to back edges and my Circle 8. "That saved you," he said. He also pointed to the salchow mark. "Nice height," the judge had written.
"That sal wasn't one of my best," I shook my head. "It felt low to me."
"Sal was good," Coach Fab reassured me. And gave me a hug. "You did very well. Congratulations."
We said goodbye and confirmed for our next lesson, right before The Big Competition the following weekend. I assured him I'd be all right without him for the Baby Competition at Home Rink the next day. He nodded and took off for home.
I stayed for a little while, packing up my things and texting friends. I took in the victory, smelled the ice once before leaving, and hit a fast food place for my ritual celebratory cheeseburger on the way home. I stopped by Home Rink, where Public Skate was happening, and shared my victory with friends. I got hugs and congrats. But I couldn't stay to skate and I didn't think it would be wise to. I might have gotten carried away in my victory skating!