I’m a time traveler in a new body that’s older, moving in the same spaces that are different. Some call this “going home.”
And I am in my hometown driving on highways that didn’t used to be here before, getting lost on my way to shopping centers that have sprouted in what were once empty fields.
They say the only constant in life is change. So no use in getting too comfortable with any one thing.
And then there’s Roller Towne (yes, that’s towne with an ‘e’), where yesterday, Jeb and I rolled along the edge of the predictable, on the very same (but different) rink where I learned how to skate, inching along and hugging that carpeted wall.
Often slow to warm to new ideas, Jeb needed some coaxing to get out on the rink with me. But bless him, he wasn’t too cool with all the pre-teens there to still hold my hand and let me pull him around the loop. After a few laps, he’d take a break and I would let loose at my own speed to move among the boys and girls, all twelve and under.
Darkness alight with strobes and flashing colors. Some turtles on the outside track with arms balancing on rolling scarecrow legs. Some jack rabbits zipping on inline skates, blowing past me on the inside. It didn’t take long to get my rhythm, even if it was to the over modulated stereo sounds of Justin Beiber. I’ll admit it, I took my hair down. Let the Roller Towne wind blow through me. Exchanged another wave with Jeb and lapped the track again, the exhilaration surprising me.
In a rush of some strange ecstasy of freedom and speed (taking care not to collide into the 11-year-old girl sending text messages while she skated) I thought of how this was the first year I took no personal vacation time. For the last three years I’ve saved my money to make a solo escape, sit in hot springs for a few days, mingle among fringe-dwelling soul-seekers, and take some time to feel like myself (sans motherhood) again.
This year did not allot for this luxury. And so I take the fill-ups where I can. The rush of the smooth wheels beneath me, the pumping electronic beats on the Roller Towne speakers…for a moment I thought, “Forget hot springs, organic food, and beautiful self-realized men. This year I’ve got Roller Towne with the pre-teens. And right now, all is right in the world.”
Jeb and I, we did a few more laps together, too. We even had one good wipe out that landed us both on our behinds. Neither one of us was in our normal stride. And that’s a good thing once in a while.
Somewhere after Roller Towne and during Jeb’s first piece of Hubba Bubba chewing gum, I find myself fielding texts and emails from two old flames. They are both Californians. And in the last 5 years, each one of these men has had their time resting deep inside my heart. It’s been ages since I’ve connected with either one of them, and as if they sense my presence on their golden shore, they both reach out to me within 24 hours.
Past, present and future collide in the confines of my mother’s borrowed station wagon. I’ve got Czech Unit 1 on pause in my ear buds. I’m certainly missing the Bohemian. Jeb and I are driving past the exit for Lover’s Lane (this hometown landmark hasn’t changed).
Jeb’s made his first real bubble with his gum. “I think I’m getting the hang of this!”
(Note to self: give Jeb the proper tools for the job. No more organic xylitol gum squares when he’s trying to learn to blow bubbles.)
We drive away from town, back to the country where there will be no cell reception. It’s ok that I’ll be out of range. I’ve accomplished much. I got my Roller Towne fix. I blew 47 pink bubbles. I sent good wishes to past loves. I learned how to ask for directions in Czech.
Jeb and I, we’re learning. Trying new things in familiar surroundings. Each moment like a hometown. The essence the same, but always changing.
And it’s decided. I’m getting skates for Christmas and I’m gonna roll through 2012.