... (continued from previous post here)
Held by his mother, he waved good bye to the mirrors that reflected his face with bright, sleepy eyes and warm expressions that wished for him to return as soon as possible. Back then of course, it was just his mom from the same window waving as the extrovert being forced into a shell would negotiate the two foot high drifts of snow to go skate alone at the school’s ice rinks.
Wearing sweatpants that proudly displayed his club affiliation in bright orange letters; he didn’t mind the difficult snow-packed run with skates on, up to the oval shaped rooms of comfort. Out here there were no taunts, no stares, and no memories. Just ice, a puck, a net, and the sound of the three colliding with frequency with every slap shot. Coaches deemed him un-coachable due to his disabilities, unwilling to bend their rigid teachings and allow the child to grow as a player, possibly as a person. Another crack from the orange and black Sherwood stick making the ice fizzle like the top of a newly opened Coke released inner anger with every shot.
Those demons of being abandoned by those who didn’t bear his last name would haunt him for the balance of his lifetime. Always needing a release, never fully trusting. One more hard eight figure around the offensive’s zone circles, one more outlet pass to a phantom teammate, one more until he could slump against the warming house brick wall in exhaustion. The high school aged rink attendants knew him by name because they’d have to actually leave their Algebra homework and space heater behind the metal grated windows to get the kid to come inside when it was time to shut down for the evening.
A darkness settled across the rinks as the return home was blinded by a dark blue and black hue across the park he previously crossed. Outlines of that sanctuary of comfort were straight ahead, while quick, disapproving glances were shot at the school building to his right. How he wanted to stay out and feel the cold air rush sideways against his face with every sudden stop and redirection. A few more minutes of feeling whole.
Instead tomorrow would bring more of the same, sitting with his back to that brick wall feeling sorry for himself.