By Meadow Murphy
I finish drying my blades and cover them before shoving my figure skates into my bag. The change room is deserted now, because it’s taken me this long just to get ready to leave. Minutes before the Zamboni took to the ice, I fell on my umpteenth attempt at a triple axel.
I’ve been working on that jump for over a year now, and I still can’t get it. Competitors two years younger than myself can land it, and they even make it look easy, so why can’t I do it? My parents are getting frustrated watching my multiple attempts, they don’t even come to the rink anymore.
As I get up from the bench, I feel this new pulling sensation in my hamstrings. I hobble out of the change room towards the front doors. Beams of sunlight stream through the lobby, I know if I didn’t hurry I’m going to be late for school.
My mom’s white Acura is parked by itself at the far end of the parking lot. I curse myself for not foreseeing the possibility of injury and choosing a spot closer to the front doors. I hobble through the parking lot with my skating bag slung over my shoulder, each step is more painful than the last. I reflect bitterly on my skating career and wonder if it is time to pack it in for a more normal life.
My friend Tara has been encouraging me since freshman year of high school to start spending more time with her. She wants to go out, do things, meet more boys. I always give her excuses, hardly able to spare free time for her. Her patience with me is wearing thin, and her dedication to our friendship is sorely being tested frequently.
As my butt clumsily hits the car seat, a sharper pain sears down my calf, I swear to myself things are going to be different. I never want to set foot in another ice arena for as long as I live. I stare out the windshield to what appears to be a promising day and insert the key into the ignition. The car comes to life and I’m off to school.
I make it to class ambulating in the hallways like a ninety year old arthritic man with just under two minutes to spare. I carefully lower myself onto my assigned chair. Homeroom is only ten minutes long so I know I will have to get up from my chair immediately after making myself comfortable. There’s absolutely no reprieve for me today.
The principal comes across the p.a. speaker saying, “Will everyone please stand for the playing of O’Canada and our morning prayer.” Using my desk and my chair for support I slowly rise as the static plays with bits of the anthem in the background. The Catholic School Board really needs to invest in new equipment. There is a pause and then the principal comes back on to give us his usual long winded morning prayer. Today the focus is on a cure for Ebola.
Adam, a guy who has no idea I exist whispers to me, “Are you okay? You’re moving around like you’re debilitated or something. What happened to you?” He’s, the cutest guy in sophomore class, I only see him for ten minutes each day and the only time he notices me is when I’m lame.
He stands at least six feet tall making him the shortest guy on our schools basketball team. His shaggy dirty blond hair hangs over the most gorgeous set of puppy-dog brown eyes I’ve ever seen. His facial features look like they are drawn with a ruler, and his beefy body is littered with muscles. He’s far from tall and lanky which is what all the other guys look like who are his age and on the basketball team.
Mrs. Uptite our teacher lowers her glasses and glares directly at Adam sending him this nasty look for talking during her attendance. He ignores her just nodding back when his name is called. This buys me a second of time to admire him without the fear of him catching me drooling.
“Skating injury,” I whisper back. The loud bell rings signalling for us to proceed to our first period. I ease myself out of my chair and swing my bag over my shoulder not realizing he’s watching me. It’s too late to disguise my agony.
“You better get that looked at,” he comments.
“Thanks,” I grimace stepping forward with my sore leg, a sharp pain shoots down into my knee. Taken by surprise, my knee buckles and I almost collapse, but Adam is there and he catches me.
Oh.My.Lucky.Stars! I’m breathless as I find myself in his arms, the most gorgeous guy in the tenth grade. I so can’t wait to tell Tara. He helps me up and lets me lean on him for support. I coach myself to breath, as I immediately try to regain my composure, “You shouldn’t be walking on it if you’re in that much pain,” he wisely comments.
I try massaging my leg, “It wasn’t this bad before.”
“Can I help you go anywhere?”
“Uh, sure, I have my mother’s car,” I stammer.
“Will you be able to drive?”He asks, his cute face contorting.
“Sure, I think once I get in the car I’ll be fine.” That’s all the encouragement he seems to need. He takes my bag and places it over his shoulder and then hoists me up into his arms.
Suddenly my day is getting a whole lot better. I wrap my arms around his neck touching his soft hair in the process and then I sniff quietly trying to pick up the subtle scent of his cologne. He looks at me startled, “Did you just smell me?”
Mortified at being caught I turn red with embarrassment and start chuckling. Clearly amused, our eyes lock and I feel a flash of nervousness. For a second it is like in the movies just before the guy kisses the girl, he looks at her lips and then into her eyes before looking back down at her lips again. I swear if we would have been anywhere but here, in the corridor of the school he probably would have kissed me.
The mood is instantaneously lost as friends start bumping into us with curious expressions on their faces. Everyone parts ways for us as he continues carrying me. If not for the pain searing down my leg, the ride in his arms would have been way more enjoyable.
“I’m taking you to the hospital,” he insists, “in MY car.”
“You’ll miss school,” I argue.
“All the more reason,” he grins.
He carries me to his new looking black mustang that is parked only a couple of cars away from mine. He carefully lowers me down onto the ground so he can get his keys from his pocket.
“I’ll drop you off at the emergency department,” he suggests.
“The emergency department? You think it’s that serious?”I question.
“You can’t walk,” he points out.
“It’s going to take hours,” I complain.
He shrugs, “I can afford to miss a day of school.”
“I better text my mother,” I say pulling out my phone from the side pocket of my purse.
Dalia: Mom R U there?
Dalia: I had 2 leave school & go 2 the hospital.
Mom: What happened? R U Ok?
Dalia: It’s my R. leg. Fell hard.
Mom: Triple Axel?
Dalia: Ya, Adam (classmate) is taking me there now.
Mom: Why didn’t U go sooner?
Dalia: It got worse after I got off the ice.
Mom: I’ll meet U there.
Dalia: U don’t need 2. I’ll text U when I’m done. Adam’s with me, I’ll B fine.
Mom: I want 2 hear what the doctor says.
Dalia: I’ll get them 2 call U
“Is she meeting us there?” asks Adam.
“No, I told her she doesn’t have to, I’ll call or text her when I know more.”
He drives stick and every time he changes gears I’m forced back into my seat.
“I like your car,” I compliment.
His lip curls in response. I gently toss my phone back into my bag and try not to look over in his direction until we arrive at the hospital.
Watch Out for Kiss and Cry – Part 1, Chapter 2…….