Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Icewoman Cometh – II

Continued from The Icewoman Cometh

The helpful suggestions came in thick and fast…

'Lean forward', suggested Cousin 1. I tried and fell flat.

'Keep the blades at an angle,' said Cousin 2. Same result.

'Stand still,' said K. Ditto.

Ice-skating isn't for the faint hearted. Or the flat-bottomed, for that matter. There's probably an easier way to learn it, understanding the technique or some such, but I was woefully clueless. It was embarrassing to be at the receiving end of sympathetic looks – especially, from children.

Still, I was determined to make some headway. With K on the left, Cousin 1 on the right and Cousin 2 behind, I managed to walk one entire round of the rink without falling. Then another.

Bolstered a bit, I tried a bit of that carefree gliding that everyone around me seemed to affect. The problem with that was I suddenly gained a momentum I wasn't ready to handle yet. My outstretched arms made frenzied clockwise circles in the air. I instinctively lurched forward, hands making anti-clockwise circles. Backwards. Forwards. And, alas, downwards.

"ARE YOU OK?", Cousins 1 & 2 shrieked in unison. I was inured to the horizontal position by now, so I was a little puzzled by their concern.

"You actually bounced off the ice!" they exclaimed. The tender areas were now numb because of the ice, so I was beyond feeling anything but ignominy.

I took a moment to catch my breath, and saw a sight to warm my heart. The Show Off, who had been putting Olympic figure skaters to shame with his pirouettes and dizzying spins, came crashing down. Kids gathered around him to commiserate, and he slunk away thereafter. I would have jumped into the air and clicked my skating shoes, if I wasn't laid out on the ice myself.

It was a good time to throw in the towel. The boots were rubbing my ankles raw, my clothes were wet and the bruises were smarting. But I was loath to give in. I was actually enjoying the challenge. There’s got to be a way to stay upright, I decided. I lifted my eyes off the shoes and looked straight ahead (that old cycling trick!). It was slow progress, and there was a bit of teetering, but I must have been doing something right because K murmured, 'You know, I think you are skating.'

The closing bell went off at the rink. I staggered to the exit, relieved. My bones creaked audibly, and the throbbing at the base of the spine didn’t augur well. My worried aunt handed me a hot water bottle and came to check on me in the night. (‘You didn’t change your position all night. I thought you had died.’).

All’s well that ends well, and all that. But it might be a while before I think about ice skating again. On the other hand, there’s the 3rd largest indoor ski resort coming up in September...

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