Dignity

July 15, 2009
On Saturday, Christina, Alexis, Samantha, Kaitlin, and I went ice-skating at Murray’s. It had been a while since I last went skating, so I was rather cautious.
“Show your mark everyone!” the lady at the gate shouted, pointing at her own mark on her hand.
“Here, I mumbled, smiling sheepishly as I flashed the back of my hand.
I stared at the ice warily, eyeing the slipper surface. I remembered the line behind me and hurried onto the ice. Holding onto the wall, I closed my eyes and took a step. Everyone was laughing and joking around at our own idiotic behavior. My jaw clenched, remembering that the last time I went skating was in 7th grade.
“I can’t do this!” Christina yelled, desperation in her eyes.
“Calm down, Cris, hold onto the wall,” I replied, attempting to calm her. It was in vain.
“This is the first time I’ve skated!”
“Right, right, I mumbled, still grasping the wall.
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and concentrated on balancing. After having a brief internal conflict with myself, I let go of the wall. Obviously mistaking my outright clumsiness for balance, I slipped backward, catching myself right on time.
Remember how to skate, remember how to skate, I chanted mentally. I internally kicked myself for forgetting to ask Aaron to meet me here. Ugh. Thinking of Aaron brings back memories of him. I shuddered, drifting off into a lost and abandoned memory.

“Okay, okay!” Andrew said, grinning as I scowled at him. “I’ll teach you how to skate.”
“All right,” I said, slipping my arm through his as we sauntered into the rink. I felt Andrew stiffen, and I flanked at him, puzzled.
“Andrew?” an unfamiliar voice asked.
I turned around, forcing Andrew out of his wooden position. I blinked at the gi who stood before me. Who was she? Jealously flared as I involuntarily narrowed my eyes.
“Hello, Haley,” he replied, still wooden. Haley?
I locked my jaw as she stood on her toes to give him a kiss. As she drew back, she gave me a smug smile. Andrew’s eyes were filled with apology and regret.
“And you are?” she asked, still smug.
I slipped my arm out of his, and stomped off, without bothering to give her an answer. I could hear Andrew calling me, but I ignored him, and sat down outside. I dialed my mom to pick me up while fighting tears.
And that was the last time I’ve seen him alone. Truly the last time I ever saw him was when I was with Aaron, last year.

A cold hand grabbed my arm and lifted me off the ice.
“You okay?” Aaron gave me his most cocky grin.
“I’m fine, really,” I said, embarrassed.
I swept the ice off me and gave a long sigh. My God, skating is hard, I thought. I shut my eyes and tried to balance again. Aaron stifled a laugh.
“Baby steps, okay? No. no! Baby steps. You’re not gonna skate if you keep falling,” he said, his grin wide and his eyes wicked.
I sighed once again, and took “baby” steps. My God I felt like an idiot. Here I was, being taught to skate, and I could hardly follow his directions. I let go of the wall to check how I was doing, only to see that I had to grasp it once again. I bumped into the person in front of me, and he turned around.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
‘No she’s not!” Aaron exclaimed, grinning like an idiot.
“Yes, I am.” I elbowed his side, fighting a smile.
“She hates you with such hating passion that it’s not possible to miss the hatred,” he said with sarcastic grimness.
I couldn’t help it; I smiled and coughed to hide a laugh. The boy in front of me just stared with puzzled eyes, and skated off.
“Can we take a break?” I asked, feigning exhaustion.
He raised his eyebrows. “Sure.”
“….Where do we go?”
“This way.” He laughed.
This time, both of us stiffened as we met the eyes of the people that I dreaded to see the most: Haley and Andrew.
“Andrew,” I said curtly.
“Haley,” Aaron said, mimicking my tone. I raised my eyebrows at him in surprise. He knew her?
Shaking herself out of her surprise, she remembered to close her jaw and smile: a cold, ironic smile.
“Hello, you two.” She tilted her head.
“What are you guys doing here?” Anger colored my tone. I smiled in attempt to bring the sting out of it.
“Just….skating,” Andrew replied reluctantly, still dazed.
“Same here,” Aaron said in a cold voice.
“Actually, Aaron’s teaching me how to skate.” I tugged his sleeve. “Let’s go?”
“Sure,” Aaron said. He turned away from the truly shocked Andrew, whose jaw had dropped to the floor. “Does this mean we don’t get to take a break?”
In reply, I laughed. We both walked away, now holding hands; it was the only way to keep some dignity in that scene. That was truly the last time I’ve seen the two of them, whether it be together or separated. Aaron’s cockiness returned when he taught me how to skate. I learned later that Haley had been his ex-girlfriend, and I confessed that Andrew had been my ex-boyfriend. Technically, Andrew hadn’t really been my ex, and we just had one almost-date. Haley had been cheating on Aaron behind his back, and Andrew had done the same to me. That day, I learned how to skate, and gained a new best friend who was exactly the same as I was.

“Ahhh!” a familiar voice screamed. I skated back to the sound. It was Christina. I grinned wickedly, not trying to hide my amusement as I helped her get up.
“Ha ha. You okay?” I asked, still laughing.
“Uh-huh.”
“Okay then,” I sang.
I began to skate off, with no sign of being a beginner. I bent my knees over to gain speed, and caught up with my other friends. The four of us skated back to where Christina was, and we helped her out. She was able to skate without out help after that. For two hours, we had a great time. In that same night, my mind brought back two memories, both so alike yet so different. One was resembling my most dreaded memory, and the other resembling my most joyous. Ever since that day with Andrew, I remembered that people aren’t always who you think they are. Ever since that day with Aaron, I have always remembered to walk away with dignity.





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