Skating Lessons

Skating Lessons

THROWBACK THURSDAY (1).pngHello and happy Thursday. I think we all have that one person in our lives who manages to ruin all potential crushes for us because in our minds nobody is going to reach the bar they’ve set. If you’re like me, then probably it’s not just one person, but ultimately, though, the bar is removed and almost magically I regain my ability to have crushes on people. The first guy I thought had ruined all the men for me is called David. He is four years older than me and was a teacher at my school. I probably don’t need to clarify that I was indeed a student. I also probably do need to clarify that no, nothing happened, despite my efforts.

I was seventeen when David became a constant in my life. My junior year was almost over and at that point I can honestly say I knew nothing about life. I was basically this walking hormone, getting crushes on every guy who was nice to me, but not acting upon them. I was a mess, but I was a happy mess.

David started out as an assistant for the volleyball coach. He wasn’t at school all day long and he didn’t teach any classes. I know that because I was sort of a master stalker and I’d managed to figure out his schedules by observing and asking around. I was glad he didn’t spend much time at school because I was genuinely concerned with the possibility of him watching me in a P.E class.

See, I’ve told you this before, I’ve always been overweight, and on top of that, I was neither athletic nor graceful at school. Quite the opposite, really, which is why I despised having to learn to roller-skate that semester. Every time I had to go to P.E and put on those skates, I felt like dying. Every single class I fought with my teacher, who’d “encourage” me with a quote by Michael Jordan or some other athlete who had nothing to do with rollerskating.

I prayed for that class to get cancelled, even if it meant having two hours of Calculus or Chemistry. I secretly wished for my teacher to get ill so that we had the free hour and I could just sit down and not skate. And sometimes I even hoped that I could just put on the skates and, well, skate. I am anxious by nature, and this was proving to be too much for me.

My teacher moved me to a side of the gym, away from the other girls who could skate. I wasn’t alone, so along with a classmate I got personalized instruction. Whenever the teacher wasn’t looking, though, whenever he went to check on the rest of the class, I’d stop. You see, I’d figured out that if I stood completely still, I could maintain my balance.

And then it happened. No, I didn’t magically learn to skate, and no, I didn’t break something and was let off the hook. Pretty much the opposite, actually. At the end of each class our teacher liked to give us pep talks, only this time he said he had an announcement. I thought the gods of skating had heard me and wanted me to rest for just a day, but no, that’s not what they wanted. Apparently they were bored at watching me get humiliated in front of the same people over and over and wanted to add some fun to the mix.

Well, that fun came in the form of David, with his round perky butt, his soccer player legs and his toothpaste commercial smile. He would replace my teacher the following class. See, David was actually a professional skater or something of the sort. I didn’t know it was possible to be equally excited and feeling like you want to die. I always thought those two feelings were mutually exclusive, but no, they could coexist inside me, and totally manage to mess me up.

I didn’t skip school or accidentally on purpose left my skates at home. I didn’t feign an injury or made something up that would prevent me from skating. Like I said, I was dreading the humiliation, but I was also glad that I would be around David for the entirety of the class.

A few years after I graduated, I went back to my school and was talking to David. We saw this little girl doing a cartwheel and I said, “wow, that’s one thing I never learned to do. That and skating.” He laughed the most wonderful laugh, and at that moment I knew he remembered the fiasco that had been that class. I also knew that I wasn’t that girl anymore, that I could talk about that embarrassing episode with a flirty voice and make it seem like it’d all happened to somebody else.

Unlike our regular teacher, David wore skates to class. He would actually skate as opposed to stand around and deliver instructions I was doubtful he could fulfill himself. David did the initial pep talk and then the group dissolved and everyone started moving gracefully across the gym. I obviously didn’t move, I couldn’t, and it took David a while to notice me.

If you take this paragraph out and read it by itself, it’s going to sound like cheap and dirty mommy porn, I’m warning you. He approached me and told me to open my legs a bit and bend my knees, but I was frozen in place and couldn’t do what he told me even as every one of my brain cells was working to do so.

I wasn’t really scared of falling down, I’ve thought about that a lot, and that’s not what was going on. I was terrified of feeling pain. I still am. Sometimes I’m walking in the street and wonder what could happen if I fell, and I picture a twisted ankle, that will probably indicate a sprain or a fracture. That’s what scares me: the injuries, the actual pain. And that’s what tormented me every time I wore those skates.

People like David, or like my two best friends who’ve always been super athletic don’t mind falling down. They’ve fallen down (literally and metaphorically) many times, and they just get up and keep on going. But at the tender age of seventeen, I wasn’t used to the fall, I wasn’t used to setting myself up for situations that could result in failure. I didn’t take risks, like ever.

He left me there for a few minutes that seemed like whole ages to me, and came back with a hula hoop, which he placed on the floor. He told me to put one foot inside the hoop, and to just start going forward. And I don’t know how I managed to actually lift my feet and place it where he’d told me to, but I did, even if I had no clue what the purpose of the exercise was. I was happy that I was actually pretty stable, until I wasn’t and I felt myself wobble.

David, who behind me, noticed and grabbed my arm. I know he did this instinctively, but just as instinctively my body reacted. Let’s just say my arm wasn’t the only part of my body tingling. Miraculously, my knees didn’t go weak from his touch and there was a part of me that actually felt like I could indeed learn to skate.

The fifty minutes in paradise/hell were over and everybody started getting ready to have lunch. I took my time, still high on David and the possibility that yes, maybe I could learn to skate one day. I genuinely thought that I had made progress with rollerskating, but more importantly, that somehow I’d made progress with David because in my mind that class had meant something to him just like it’d meant something to me. And yes, looking back at the conversation we had years later, I know he did remember that day, but maybe not for the reasons I thought he would.

That was the first time I was near David, and it was the first time I heard his voice and he heard mine. Before that, I’d enjoyed looking at him, and the perfect butt-legs-smile combination that made him super desirable. But now, he’d done the thing that made me fall for boys: he’d been nice. He’d stopped me from falling down, he’d given me hope that I could learn to skate. And he’d moved on to another category in my book. Now he was official crush material, and just like he had no clue who I was, he had no clue what being my crush meant. But he’d find out.

Have you embarrassed yourself in front of a crush? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Thursday!

Love, Miss Camila