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Roller Rink

Imani is a senior Applied Math major who's had a passion for writing for years. She has published a few poems and short stories.

“When did you know you loved me?”

“Hm?” I said as I reluctantly pulled my attention away from my book and brought myself back into reality.

“When did you know you loved me?” James repeated. I looked at him amused by his question until I saw how deeply his eyebrows were furrowed, the slight scrunch of his nose. He stared blankly at the ceiling, his arms behind his head. When he turned to face me, I could see more than curiosity in his eyes. A sadness haunted his grass-green eyes, one I hadn’t seen in a while. I set my book aside and curled up next to him and laid my head on his bare chest.

“Why are you asking?”

“I just want to know,” he said. “When did you know? Like for sure.” I closed my eyes and pretended to think for a moment, but I already knew the answer.

We went to the roller rink. James had never been skating before and I was excited to teach him. We went on adult night since there were less people but also because I was terrified, he’d run over some poor child. The second James put on his skates, he held onto me and wouldn’t let go. He fell, a lot, dragging me down with him a few times. But every time he stood back up, he was laughing and immediately began trying to skate again.

Eventually, he got a good handle on skating, although stopping without ramming himself into the railing or me was still difficult. When we sat to take a break, he was still smiling. “You seem to be having fun,” I teased.

“Yeah, this is fun! I’m having a great time!” he yelled.

“I told you you’d like it!”

“Yeah. But it’s mostly fun because I’m here with you.”

“Oh, shut up.”

“Sam, it is impossible for me to not to have a good time when you’re around.”

I smiled at the memory. “The day we went roller skating,” I answered.

“Really? Watching me fall down a thousand times won you over, huh?” James joked.

“I guess it did,” I laughed.

“You’re a sadist.” James wrapped me in his arms. “We should do that again.”

“You sure? You fell a lot that day. You complained back your sore butt for like a week.”

“To see you smile? I’d fall all day, every day.”

© 2021 Imani Jade

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