Object Series: Ice Skates

March 4, 2010

A pair of ice skates, size 9, an innocuous yet definitely not stylish shade of gray, a strange pair that look like, as he informed me, a cross between figure skates and hockey skates, but leaning more towards the former.
Both of us recognized the cheesiness of it, the couples skating arm in arm around the tiny makeshift rink, but we were going there precisely to be one of those couples and that was exciting. Growing up in Michigan, he was a born hockey player and had his own skates. I, on the other hand, had only been on ice a handful of times, and though I knew I was at least pretty okay at skating, I was still worried that I’d come off as unathletic as people say I look.
It was December in San Francisco and my grandma had just died. Usually when I tell people that I say, “Not the good one,” meaning not my mom’s mom, my favorite grandparent. I know that sounds awful. I had driven to Oregon the previous weekend for the funeral. I left on a Friday and came back two days later, but that meant two days apart and I didn’t quite understand until just now that we had spent so much time together that two — only two — nights apart seemed like a very, very long time. I miss that feeling so much, and I know right where it belongs — in my chest, a little to the left of my heart in a space that, when it’s not there, is so utterly, completely empty that it causes me to press my hand to my chest several times a day, close my eyes and think about anything but the void.
This makes me even more sad because today marks the fourteenth day I haven’t seen him — or more accurately, the fourteenth day he hasn’t wanted to see me.
But back then when we were ice skating, it was kitschy, it was adorable, he said he wished he could go around the rink faster and I asked how to tell if a lake was safe to walk on when it’s frozen over. He said you just know.
I think there are a lot of things like that in life. You just know.


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