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My mom the ice queen
by John Pederson
Issue 6
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We used to gather at the neighborhood ice rink at about the same time every night. We were on a tough schedule back then: dinner at six, followed by snowball fights, sled races, and boot hockey.

We’d savor the day’s victory in the warming house until our parents came to get us. The other moms usually showed up in their husbands’ coats and oversized boots to rush my friends off to bed. My mom came with a pair of skates over her shoulder.

These were no ordinary figure skates. Their white leather glowed against the snow; the blades were shiny enough to mesmerize the most hyperactive eight-year-old.

The skates were magical. We all knew it. We could see it on my mom’s face as she carefully laced the smooth leather around her skinny ankles. She would shoot us a smile and tie them tight with two gigantic bunny-ear knots. But this smile was different from the one my brother and I were use to, the one we elicited almost on command from our doting mother. This smile didn’t disappear as soon as I stopped making my “silly face” or my brother stopped hanging from the clothes line; it lingered independently and above us kids.

We followed her to the ice, but not much further. Neither of us could keep up with those magical blades. We watched. And like our favorite Disney video, the scenes never got old. With two step-and-glides she was swirling under the floodlights, sailing on the ice—over the ice—and around the two of us.

We were thankful it was a small lit rink or she might have glided off into oblivion beyond the floodlights. Sometimes I would forget that this ballerina was the same women who washed my clothes and fed me squash. When she started skating backwards, I was sure it must be someone else. I slowly started to recognize this woman as my mom, or maybe, my mom as a woman.

After the loops, twirls, and spins, we would head to the warming house for a game of foosball. My mom never did anything competitively, except for foosball. She showed no mercy as she tallied the points against my brother and me. Who was this woman? She was certainly more fun than my mom but not exactly someone I wanted tucking me in at night.

The skates always came off. The three of us would walk home and set them by the door. Tomorrow there would be clothes to wash and squash for dinner. But tomorrow night was another story.

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