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Ice Skating & Callie's Relationship With It

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“I just want to be a normal teenager!” I shout.

April looks at me, her face cringing in sympathy. “I understand, Callie, I really-”

“All I do is skate! I'm so sick of it. There are so many more things I want to do! I want to laugh and love and... just have a boyfriend, for Pete's sake. I can't go to parties, I can't have fun, and I can't even dye my hair!”

“I know, honey, don't worry. It'll all work out.”

I stand up from the ugly bench and look out towards the mountains. We're sitting by the train station, just waiting. Perhaps some miracle will drive down and save us.

April is the runaway. She stopped skating two years ago and ran away with her boyfriend. Of course, he's not here now, because he got drafted. She's been trying to make some money while I've been trying to break away from my ugly skating career. It's all I ever do. No one seems to notice that I adore fashion and hate ice. I don't even like the cold.

April's nineteen, and I'm seventeen. One more year and I'll be able to break away. Unfortunately, it's not adulthood I want. It's my teen years. I wish I could've enjoyed being a normal kid, not some stupid ice-driven maniac like I've become.

Actually, it's really not the ice I don't like. It's more the fact that I don't control my life. My coach does. My parents do. I have nothing to do with it. And what's worse is that when I try, I fail. I can never succeed. This is why I always complain and never do anything about it!

“How exactly did you leave skating?” I ask April. She's never gone into real details.

She was staring down at her lap, but now she looks up. “I ran away, you know that.”

“But did you tell anyone?”

She presses her lips together. “I told my mom that I was leaving. She was mad, of course. She didn't believe me. Then I left that same night and put a note under her door. I called her the next day and got into another fight. Eventually, after weeks of not talking, she forgave me... and I forgave her.”

“Do you still talk to her?”

“Now and then, yes. But I haven't seen her since I left. Too bad my older sisters already left home by then.”

“How did you decide to leave?”

“Leave home or leave skating?”

“Skating.”

She breathes slowly. “Well, I wasn't happy. I had a terrible eating disorder, thank God that's through. I dreaded skating rehearsals and I would fake sick. It became ridiculous.”

“Are you happier now?”

“Yes. Though I truly miss my Danny.”

I giggle. “He's a sweetheart.”

“Yes,” she agrees with a sigh.

“So what am I going to do?”

She doesn't say anything, and I imagine that she's thinking quite deeply under that small head of red curls.

I stare past the mountains now, hoping that some answer is somehow engraved among the clouds. Maybe God himself is looking down on me right this moment. That's silly, of course. I'm not a good Christian. As if God really looks at me the same way he does everyone else. I'm not a good person. I bi***, I swear, I'm mean to people, and I'm just a plain sinner. And the worst of it is I don't care. I really don't care about being a good person. All I want is to free myself from this icy hell.

“I think you should keep skating,” April finally says.

My jaw drops. “What?”

“What I did was wrong and I know it. I'm not going to pretend that a) I don't miss skating, and b) I haven't hurt myself and my family along the way. It's a decision I regret but yet am still proud of. I wouldn't want the same for anyone else.”

“April!” I protest. “What the hell are you saying? Don't you want to help me anymore?”

“I am helping you, Callie!” She argues, looking hurt. “You're my best friend and I only want what's best for you. Besides, you don't have the same circumstances as I did. You don't have an eating disorder nor are you really hating skating that much.”

“You don't know that!”

“I do. I see you skating, hun. You still love it. Skating will always be a love-hate relationship no matter who you are or where you're doing it.”

“Ugh!” I groan.

I stomp away from the bench and jump onto the train tracks. I kick the rocks and start swearing in really bad words. I yank on my blond hair and I even let out a few screams of irritation.

When I'm done, I try to breathe. I sit on the tracks and close my eyes.

“I'm sorry, April,” I finally manage to spit out. “I'm sorry I'm such an a**.”

“You're not an a**.”

“Oh?”

“Nope. You're just a confused little girl. It's understandable and relatable.”

“I hate all this,” I grumble.

“Can you get off the tracks now?” April murmurs. “The train'll be here soon.”

“What if I just die?”

“What?”

“That would solve everything.”

April rolls her eyes. “Don't be silly. Now, come on.”

I let her help me out. We walk away from the station and down the dirt road towards our neighborhood.

“Conclusion?” I request.

“Oh, right. Um, first of all, don't quit skating just yet.”

“Okay...”

“Second, don't tell anyone about this, because it'll make matters worse.”

“Mm hm.”

“And third... don't die.”

I grin and she nudges my ribs. I wrap an arm around her waist and look up at her. If only she was a few inches shorter. Or a foot.

“Thanks for listening to my ranting,” I tell her. “I'm annoying, I know. But still thanks.”

“No problem. Talk to me any time.”

“Got it.”

We're at my house now. I start up the path to my front door. I wave to April and walk in.

“So how was your walk with April?” my mom immediately asks before I've even removed my shoes.

“Great.”

“What did you talk about for so long?”

I smile to myself. “You know... just how much we love fashion.”

“That's nice.”

I go to my room and shut the door, starting to feel my new life coming. Maybe skating isn't really that bad...



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