The bruise is spreading like a slowly blooming jellyfish across my left hip. Dark purple and bright blue and blurry at the edges. It’s tender to the touch and my blue jeans put more pressure on it than I wish they did. But the tender spot doesn’t stop the jitter in my legs. I have that particular kind of springtime jumpiness that’s making me want to pack up my computer and head to the park even though it’s cold and windy.
James gave me my skateboard two years ago on my birthday. I’ve ridden, but timidly. I’ve been embarrassed, maybe, not to be better, or faster, or more sure of myself. I’ve been afraid, a bit, of falling. Or failing. Probably both.
For the past few weekends we’ve taken advantage of sunshine to head to the parks. Faye has demanded that I bring along my skateboard and so dutifully, I have. It doesn’t occur to her that I might not be sure of myself. She sees me glide across the skate park and she’s is gleeful, giddy, giggling. She chases after me and begs to ride, too. She sees me tumble off the board. She’s utterly unfazed. What’s a fall in a day that’s full of them?
Another child arrives to the park on rollerblades.
“I’m just learning,” he explains to us.
“Me, too,” I say.
“You’re really good.” His blue eyes sparkle and he grins at me and races off, knees knocking.
“Thanks,” I call after him. “You are, too.”
A habit shift: Giving myself permission to fall. (And yes, I’ve ordered a helmet. This one.)