It’s a rather cold day. Indeed, it’s only been 5 or so minutes and my toes are no longer sending signals to my brain other than “cold cold cold.” The sun shining through the window before I left tricked me into thinking it would be warm, but thankfully, I have a rather large, brightly coloured hat. It makes 5’7″ me look like a child, but that’s perfectly fine, since it gives me an excuse to act like a child. My laces are slightly too tight for comfort, since I dislike when the two skates do not have equal tightness, and one cannot really tell the difference if they’re both too tight.
After a little bit of shuffling towards the ice, with a little bit of hesitation, I step onto the ice. The Zamboni had just made its rounds around the rink, and there were already a couple people speeding around in circles, making lines on the pristine ice. I, however, require a bit of adjusting, and wobble around for a few seconds. Unsure if I still know how to skate, I take a few shaky, penguin-like strides before gaining more confidence, forgetting that newly zambonied ice is slippery, and falling.
First fall of the year, I suppose. I would sit there and continue to pity myself, but the ice, surprisingly enough, is icy, and I need not torture myself like that. More people are sitting on the benches, lacing up their skates, so I try my best to fully enjoy one lap before the influx of people arrive.
There are a few different types of people on the ice. I notice that there are quite a few little kids today. They may look very innocent, but they are in fact very dangerous. When they fall, they have a tendency to slide across the ice directly in front of you like colourful seals, forcing you to stop, which is indeed something I am morbidly bad at. Also, the second they spot a gap in a group of people, no matter how small, they will make an attempt to fit through it and pass them at full speed, all the while scaring the people they are trying to pass with their loud scrapy skate noises, confidently swinging limbs, and a vertical deficiency that makes them rather hard to see.
Another lap later, I encounter another challenge —a group of teenagers. This is very bad news because they are teenagers, so not only must one face the challenges of trying to — without going close enough to them to be considered creepy — bypass a very slow-moving group of people literally perfectly blocking the path, but one must also avert one’s eyes so as not to attract the attention of their judging stares. I finally manage to escape once the path widens.
Eventually, as the sky grew darker, the number of people on the ice dwindled to the point where I could find myself with several meters of empty ice in front of me. My toes at this point are essentially nonexistent and the wind is blowing more confidently against my face. Above, the moon shines as I skate along to the “Beatles Only Radio” blasting from the speakers.
Illustrator: Helen Sun