The Roller Skating Rink
Adolescents like to have a place they can call their own. In the 80’s and early 90’s, teenagers would hang out at the mall, the arcade, or many other spots. When I was a little girl, growing up in a small town, meant you had to travel to the city next door in order to find your weekend excitement. Usually that would be roller skating with your friends at “Skate World”, while listening to the favorite group of the month. Having never done this as a child, my sister decided one afternoon that she would take me roller skating. I was amazed to find a little world filled with life blooming on a 70 X 160-ft cement slab known as a roller skating rink.
As soon as we entered the building which housed the rink, the warm, nostalgia scent of popcorn hit that part of my brain where dusty cobwebbed memories live, memories of my own childhood. We made our way past a group of exuberant teenagers at the snack bar until we reached the skating rink. Skinny, hard benches, made for small butts, lined one wall. We took a seat and scanned the rink. My eyes paused to read a sign; white, block letters on a black background warned, “Skate At Your Own Risk.” As my sister smiled back at me, I paused for a minute and thought, what have I gotten myself into.
Meanwhile, two young men swaggered past us: confident, heads held high, eyes focused on their destination. I leaned over, looking down the long row of benches, curious to find out where they were going. Their confidence lagged a bit as they approached a large group of their peers, including several young ladies. All of them exhibited signs of discomfort as the girls crossed their arms over their mature bodies and the boys tried hard not to stare.
Suddenly a silent signal sent the entire group to the benches. Pairs of nimble hands laced up skates as quickly as possible, while other hands aided in conversation that only the listener was allowed to hear. I was struck by the intimacy of this scene. They all...
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