“Skate Country” by Robin Wyatt Dunn

The color of the rink is almost the same—Barney the Dinosaur purple—but the carpeting has changed. Back against her septum and then back onto the colored concrete, she finds her balance again, inside her head, atop the roller skates.

Twenty-five years but that’s not important right now—these colors are—the red, blue, green and yellow squares that flash over her feet in the dark. The disco ball was higher quality in the 1980s—more sparkly, so it seemed to glow—now it functions as a sort of mascot.

The desert heat outside is creeping back, over the tarmac and the hills. But inside the air-conditioning middle America seems almost unchanged—or extremely good at pretending. That’s what she’s been doing for three years now since the end of a part of herself.

She has to remember to lean into the skates, to tie the laces tight, to think of the wheels as part of her feet. But it’s like dancing—she always liked dancing.

She sniffs a little bit to get the very last drops; there’s no one here at this hour. A few kids, an old man and an old lady, and one teenager who stares at her occasionally as she makes her way slowly around the circuit.

You could say it was ballistic—but very slow—the arc of descent. Now a kind of crash landing, with her knuckles clenched white on the roll cage, listening to the ship plow into the earth.

Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. You can read more of his work at www.robindunn.com.

Image Credit: Photo by RDNE Stock project

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