Roller-Skates This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 13, 2012
A few summers back, my little brother and I would wake up complaining constantly about how bored we were. We spent the days lying on the couch, clicking through the channels with a remote, or maybe reading books that had been started in the school year then dropped under the pressure of an overwhelming mound of homework. Page by page, TV show after TV show, we wasted the days away by whining about our imminent boredom and playing the occasional board game. Our schedules were sparsely dotted with the rare sleepover, play date or birthday party. My parents became agitated as would any sane adult in their situation, repeatedly telling us to work ahead in our textbooks or clean our rooms, but every kid knows that boredom cannot be resolved with such menial tasks. We needed something inspirational, something that would make us roll around the floor laughing until our bellies ached, maybe even something challenging. Something fun.

In late July, my mother and I spent a morning following my little brother who apprehensively walked around with skates while his friends skated in circles around him, asking him to skate faster alongside them, but he only shook his head with a strong no. To say the least, he was definitely a beginner. He slowly picked up confidence throughout the day, at some points even attempting to skate faster than his friends. After what seemed like the twenty-seventh time he had fallen and we had helped him get back up, he tried jumping with his skates on and even did the hokey-pokey along with the song. At the end of the day, his happiness shone through his sweet half-smile as he fell into an exhausted sleep.

The next morning, I awoke to a repeated sharp poke and I rolled to my other side, pulling my sheets above my head in a pathetic attempt to avoid confrontation so early in the morning. A large mass sat on the side of my bed, knowing it had woken me up and my brother’s high voice filled the air and he started nudged my ribs with his elbow. He bounced up and down, causing the bed to spring up and down along with him.

“You know what? You know what? I’m going to go buy skates today,” he bragged to me in a sing-song voice. After my parents decided that they wanted to learn how to “slide around everywhere with wheels”, they promptly convinced me that I needed skates in order to survive, their importance surpassing that of food or water. So this is how we ended up in our spacious garage with the cars in the driveway, lacing up our skates for the first time. With no trouble in getting his feet to move in the right direction like some of us, namely me, my brother glides off the chair, floated to a column in the middle of our garage and holds himself against it. As I struggled to get up, my wheels moved backward, the chair knocks me off balance, and I fall to the floor. Great job, I think to myself sarcastically. Now, let’s go again. I slowly move my legs into a kneeling position, hesitating to put my weight on my front leg, as my leg slips out from under me and I am once again left sitting on the floor in an awkward position, my left leg flailed out alongside of me, my body resting on its side and my other leg caught underneath me. I uncertainly roll back up and move my feet to a slight angle so my weight is supported by the sides of the wheels and managed to hoist myself up and maintain my balance through a series of spastic motions. I look around me and see my father slowly moving alongside of the wall, his hand patting it as he moves. My brother looks sort of panicked like he is calculating the chances of me taking him down with me when I fall. My mother is nervously glancing around, thoughts racing in her head about how well-thought this idea was. A big thud lands relatively close to me as my dad is splayed out, struggling to get up as I was. With my newly regained control of the skates, I move over to him in slow, smooth motions with my arms out to balance. I try to pull him back up, but his weight only offsets my balance and I come tumbling down, my elbow-pads and knee-pads clanking against the floor and I try to repeat my last complicated series of movements to get up with no success. I pull my leg up to the point where my skates are on a slight slant and my knees are bent, and I push off to quickly bring my other leg to its side. Miserably failing, my dad tries to do the same, but eventually he finds a way to get back up.

We uneasily make our way to the chair where we started and I get down on my knees and crawl over to avoid falling and hoist myself up with my arms. My mother, never having put on her skates in the first place, heads back inside the house, barely containing her giggles. She reappears at the door with a camera in her hand, the wrist strap securely tightened, and we all groan, but are forced to cooperate. We get up one by one and waddle our way over to her and stand together, our legs wobbling. Eventually my dad’s skates started moving backwards and he falls over taking my brother and me with him. We lay on the floor, giggling, on top of one another. In hindsight, we probably should have learned how to brake first.





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