The following is a short called “Glide Guide” by me, Evin Hughes.
Step One. You’ll need the longest pair of socks you have, the ones mom pink-dyed in the washer on Christmas Eve will do—your “lucky socks”—just remember to wear jeans so the girl from next door wont see them.
Step Two. You’ll need the eight or nine protective pads your mom bought you that make you look like a mental patient with the soft walls of solitary confinement strapped to your knees, elbows, cradling your head, like the latest straightjacketed escapee. Note: skip the second step if mom’s not home.
Step Three. Put on the blades; let gravity pull you down the cement driveway. Gliding is the absence of force, tension, the free in freefall and the less in weightlessness, the wind in your hair, the slack of sinews, the instinct behind physics, the smell of rubber, the eight-wheel-lullaby on the asphalt, the brain-in-off-mode feeling.
Step Four. Date the girl next door. Lose your blades. Forget about gliding altogether. Grow up. Leave town. Come back when your mom is sick. Tell her that her scars are nothing and then lift your shirt up to remind her of the deep scrape you got when you went rollerblading with no pads when she wasn’t home.
Step Five. Rummage through the attic all day and finally recover your old blades huddled amongst a nebula of Christmas lights and cobwebs. Repeat steps one through three. Glide to suspend the pain, to hide the tears.
Step six. Go to your mom’s funeral in shorts; your lucky socks, pulled up as high as they can go, in pink salute. Fall. Get back up.