by Brooke Walling
A skating mishap ruins a Florida afternoon—and a favorite piece of clothing.
My mother was going to kill me; of that much I was positive. I was also completely aware that I was probably wasn’t even going to make it home to face my impending doom.
Splatters of mud and dirt hit my face and slime coated my lower body as I sat there screaming for help, but no one could hear me.
My skate pounded the pavement as I skated toward the old wooden bridge. I couldn’t wait to test some of the new tricks that Dominic, Caden, Angie and I had been working. I frowned when I thought of my three friends, as the universe would have it, the one day I don’t have any homework, they would be overloaded.
I wiped the sweat from my brow and glanced at the sun shining above me. For once I wished for a cloud to cover it, even for rain, since we hadn’t had any in a month.
Pressing my skates harder to the ground, I willed my body to move faster so that once I hit the ramp we had built last month, I would go flying. I grinned as I reached the last turn; nothing, not even my cousin’s nanny’s triple chocolate cake, would make me as happy as I was when I was flying though the air with only my skates and gravity to guide me. Excitement and happiness coursed through my veins as I turned the corner, and then in a moment the happiness turned to dread.
The bridge was gone.
I tilted my left foot backwards trying to brake, and for a moment I thought I had. For a moment I thought that for once in my young life Lady Luck was on my side and I wasn’t about to tumble head first into the river outside of my neighborhood.
But Lady Luck was not on my side.
My legs buckled from under me as my skates hit the grass and I fell feet-first down the hill and into the murky water. I closed my eyes and mouth, waiting for the splash, but it never came. I could feel my body sink deeper and deeper into muck and mud, and splatters of it landed on my arms and face.
That was the moment I realized that my mother was going to kill me.
Last week my neighbor had given me a garbage bag filled with old clothes and under all the mini-skirts and tube-tops was a shiny pair of white Brazilian “Butt Lifting” jeans. It had been a dream come true—and my dad’s worst nightmare—when those jeans fit me perfectly, and I mean perfectly.
Putting those jeans on this morning felt like the coming of a new age—I, Brooke Renee Walling, had a pair of Brazilian jeans, and I looked hot. When I got home from the bus stop this afternoon I had been so excited to be able to hang out with my friends that I had forgotten to change out of the jeans before putting my skates on. Now I was sitting thigh-deep in a dried, muddy river and I knew that this would be the first and last time I wore those shiny jeans in public.
I took a few deep breaths trying to slow my heart, which I was sure was beating a mile a minute. I glanced around and picked up my glasses that had landed on the grass near my, uh, predicament.
Placing my hands down on the ground I tried to push myself to my feet and slide out of the mud, only to find that my left skate was stuck, and didn’t plan on going anywhere any time soon.
“Hello!” I screamed. “Can someone help me?”
Silence was the reply. I had hoped that maybe the women I had seen jogging, or the guy I had seen walking his dog, were within hearing distance.
“Help!” I screamed, tears pricking at my eyes, ready to roll down my cheeks. “Please! Help!”
Seconds seemed to become minutes, and watching the hands on my Mickey Mouse watch didn’t do anything to ease the knot forming in the pit of my stomach. I continued to scream for help until my throat turned raw, but no one came.
Looking up at the sky I saw that the sun had started to set and I knew that my parents had to be worried about me. Were they looking for me? And even if they were, would they even know where to look?
“Help!” I hollered, plucking at the grass, on the verge of giving up. My throat was sore, my body ached, and my butt and legs had turned tingly from sitting in the same position for so long.
“Hello?” A voice called. I paused, my breath still, waiting to see if the voice would appear again.
A smile stretched across my face and I screamed, “Over here! I’m stuck in the riverbed!”
I glanced behind me, a new ache forming in my neck. The man with the dog! He had come to save me!
“Are you okay?” he asked; his clothes were drenched in sweat and the former girly-girl in me wanted to move away from the smell radiating off his body, but at that moment I was too excited at the prospect of freedom that I could handle any scent that the world could throw at me.
“My skate, it’s stuck. I can’t move,” I said, jerking my leg; still my skate refused to break free of whatever was holding it down.
The man turned his head and whistled before calling out, “Buster! Come here boy!”
I could see a giant golden retriever from the corner of my vision and I closed my eyes, silently praying that whatever plan this man had to get me out didn’t involve his dog. Ever since I was little, big dogs had frightened me, since most of the time they were the same size, if not bigger than me.
“Hey, you okay?” Opening my eyes I could see that the sweaty man had slid down the hill and was now kneeling next me, his body just inches from the mud.
I nodded, trying not to look at his dog, which had followed him down the hill and was now sitting just a few feet away from me.
“Don’t mind Buster,” he said smiling. “He not gonna hurt ya.”
I smiled, still keeping my eye on Buster; I’d met plenty of “nice dogs” before.
“I’m gonna hook his leash to your skate and as I pull, I want you to try and move yourself up the hill, okay?” The man tore through the mud till he could feel the edge of my skate and hooked the leash to the loop-hole on the back of my skate.
I nodded, placing my hands on the ground, ready to move.
“Ready?” he hollered, and I threw him a thumbs up.
I shimmed up the hill as fast as I could and I could feel the leash tugging at my skate as it slowly began to move, bringing whatever was holding it down with it.
“What is it?”
Hanging of the edge of my skate was thin plastic string that you would find on a fishing rod and sure enough, there was a little pink princess fishing rod still attached. A little girl must have dropped it in there when the river was full and the fish were still around
Staring at my two skates that were coated in mud and gunk and little pink fishing rod, I started to laugh. I was free! Finally! And my captor was a tiny pink plastic fishing rod.
“Are you okay?” the guy asked, staring at me as I continued to laugh.
I nodded, tears forming from my eyes. “Yeah,” I said chuckling. “I’m okay.”
The guy took one more look at me, asked if I was okay to get home, and when I nodded he continued along the path, Buster following in his wake.
I took one glance at the ruined skates and took them off, knowing that the walk home would be a lot easier without them still on my feet.
The normally five-minute skate took ten minutes and as I approached my house I could hear my dad screaming for me.
“Dad!” I screamed, and a second later I saw him turning to corner with Dominic, Caden, and Angie right behind him. They all froze when they saw me, muddy clothes and gunk filled skate, and the look on their faces was enough to tell me that they all had the same question on their mind.
“They took the bridge down.”