I feel compelled to write you a letter. Please forgive my disjointed thoughts as it’s sometimes hard to explain how I feel about you.
We’ve been together for a year now and I feel it odd I haven’t named you. Inanimate extensions of my life often get named, cars in particular, as I’ve had a Katie the K Car and a Patty O Brien, a green Dodge Neon.
But you have remained nameless.
Perhaps it’s because you have never been lifeless. Perhaps it’s because when I slip you on my feet, you become a natural extension of my body. You move how I move. I control you yet you control me. Without each other we cannot portray freedom, motion and power in the same way we do when we are not conjoined.
It may be a little creepy, but I like to abuse you.
I bang the backs of your wheels into the floor while I’m lacing up to make sure my heel is locked in tight. I pull so hard on your strap across the top of my foot, I can practically hear the stitching heave. I scrape your leather skin on the roughest of surfaces when I fall.
I’ve taken you through mud. I’ve taken you through puddles. But in my defense, I’ve also taken you apart and wiped and cleaned every piece of you.
Sometimes after a practice I toss you into my skate bag so hard that I’m certain I’m giving you minor nicks and cuts from all the other stuff in my bag. Sometimes I do it out of frustration; other times I do it because practice went late and I only have minutes to get out of there. I am sorry for the days you have to live in that space, mixed with all my nasty-smelling gear. But out of all my pads, tape, tools and wheels, you will always be the sweetest-smelling item in there.
I remember the first day I took you out for a test run.
You look a lot different now than you did a year ago, which is to be expected. Even though you are now stretched, scuffed and dirty, I love you more now than I did when you were shiny and new.
I love how your skin molded so nicely to my feet; with it gently curving around the bunion on my right foot. There is a perfect impression of all my footly imperfections inside each boot.
That’s what makes you unique and truly mine forever.
I’ve made some adjustments since I’ve first met you… I changed your laces, upgraded your cushions and changed your toe stops. Your toes were taped to protect your skin where it tends to get worn the most. I remember I thought I was smart in taping a single row of tape completely around the bottom part of your boot, in the hopes it would further protect you from all the elements outdoor skating brings. I also remember how I cried inside when I went to change that tape and part of your skin came off with it. It devastated me that something I thought would be doing good, did you harm.
It’s no secret that I’ve had some wheel issues. I hope one day I will find the answers I’m looking for. But I find it fitting that my first pair of wheels, my outdoor wheels, are still my favourites by a long shot. Like you, they also look a lot different from their first run. The graphics on the outer rim have long since been worn off; the sharp edges of the wheels are worn down like a bald tire; the skating surface is nicked from sharp gravel that outdoor skating brings. But despite their imperfections and your imperfections and my imperfections, I feel magic when we come together.
Is that weird? I hope not.
One day, I may have to quit you. But I don’t foresee that being for a long, long time. Even if the reason I brought you into my life no longer exists, I feel I will still use and abuse you in every way. Even if the reason I brought you into my life outlives your stitching or plates or body, I will never toss you aside. Like my first pair of roller skates, you will be held in high esteem; carefully tucked away for a grandchild to find many years from now.
I hope the scrapes, scars and tape residue will give them a peak what my life was like at this moment in time. Because I’ve been pretty lucky to be given the opportunity to get to know you, skates. Right now, aside from my family and closest friends, I probably spend the most time with you.
Thanks for everything you’ve given me.