My muscles are alive. I hear blades scraping ice and feel cool air blowing against my face, blowing my long denim Biz style skirt between my legs. My lithe twelve year-old body rejoices in movement and balance. I glance down and it looks like I'm wearing jeans which I am never allowed to wear. I speed around the rink, faster, faster and then slow down as I turn a corner. Multi-colored disco lights dance in time to the Miami Boys Choir song that our B'nos leader asked the rink to substitute for the usual pop music. We rented the place out and are entitled to our choice of music. I ignore the swish of long skirts, the giggles and shouts of middle and high school Bais Yaakov girls skating all around me. I breathe and feel my heart pumping, so alive. This is a rare experience of feeling okay in my body and I cherish the moment.
There is a sudden flash on the ice in front of me. It's a piece of jewelry, a bracelet, which must have fallen off someone's wrist. My ankle twists as my skate blade hits the bracelet and I am sliding across the ice on my side, a searing pain radiating up my ankle to my knee. I can't move. Two twelfth grade girls glide up beside me.
"Need a hand?" they ask.
I nod but I don't reach up to grab their hands. I'm afraid, so afraid of the pain and the loss of control of my body and of being hurt. I am hesitant to let them touch me, to admit I am hurt and vulnerable. I don't want to be hurt but at the same time it feels so right.
"I think I broke my leg," I say and that sounds right too. Finally my inner brokenness can be seen and felt. My inner pain is suddenly actualized in my injured ankle. The girls pull me up as I wince, unable to place my foot on the ice. I don't know where the shame comes from, the terror and relief. I'm hurt and that's good, but I am not supposed to be hurt. Being hurt is not and never was real. All I know now is that it shouldn't be a relief to be hurt, and yet I feel relieved. What is the matter with me? Did I make this happen? My young brain rages in pain and confusion. I don't yet know or understand anything about triggers or flashbacks. I just know there is something wrong in my reaction The memories that would begin to make sense of these feelings would not come for another six years. I only know somewhere deep inside that being hurt is my fault, my responsibility. To my mother, I should offer to pay for the surgery needed to put my cracked bone back into place. Not that I have the money, but I know I am responsible and I need to pay. So I offer to pay the twenty dollars for the crutches.