It's a lazy Saturday morning; in an unusual reversal of roles, S. is the one trying to get us outside, and I am the one still in my PJs with the kids, looking at the computer and half-playing, occasionally, with Legos or a puzzle or stringing beads.
I think about this for a moment. My ankle is healing, but it's still a little painful. Weaker than last time. Weak enough that I decided to fit in a few sessions of physical therapy (which, by the way, I recommend wholeheartedly: I have never had my foot soaked in a whirlpool, followed by a foot massage. Granted, they then made me do an 45 minutes' worth of ankle exercises, which made me want to cry, but I'll take the foot massage any day). I've been wearing a brace around here and there. I haven't gone running since I sprained it a second time.
If there's any footwear that provides really good ankle support, it's a roller blade. No way I could turn my ankle in plastic. Lose some skin, maybe. Hurt my ankle again, probably not. And, I thought to myself, balancing on them will feel more or less like the
I got dressed and came back downstairs, found my wrist guards stashed, conveniently, in the boot of each roller blade. "I'm wondering if this might be a really stupid idea," I said to S. as I dusted the boots with a wet paper towel, and gathered everything together to go outside.
"Yeah, that occured to me, too," he agreed.
Great, I thought. "Call I. down," I told him. "He's going to want to see this."
Still shoed, not a little apprehensive, I walked out to the curb next to my parked car, where I thought I might have a prayer of standing up.
To my surprise, it wasn't as hard as I thought. I felt a little like Frankenstein, rising from the pavement, moaning, until I stood in tadasana in the street. HA, I told myself. You did it. "Is I. watching?" I called. Yes, there he was, grinning, one of Carl Hiassen children's books still in hand, finger tucked in as a bookmark where he would go back to reading as soon as this turned out to be as boring or silly as he thought it might be.
I took off up the street first, not wanting to have to figure out downhill and slowing down and balancing all at once. After the first few shaky moments, I felt like I had my feet solidly under me. The muscles in my core tightened. My ankle felt supported. I went faster, and faster, and ...
"AGAIN!" my daughter shouted from the sidewalk, where she pushed her stroller, running after me. "AGAIN!" And then, wonderingly: "Mama's just like Elmo and Oscar the Grouch!" (in her Sesame Street book about wheels and things that go).
I. grinned at me from the porch, still watching. He did, eventually, go back to his book. But that was because I probably spent twenty minutes feeling very proud of myself, racing up and down the street, turning in slow arcs to slow down. Which would be boring for anyone else besides me.
Two of my neighbors drove past, slowing to a crawl as they passed me. "I can turn, I can turn," mimicked the first one, laughing. "What are you trying to do, kill yourself? What about your ankle?"
"It's very well supported," I assured her. "It was S's idea." I hesitated, pondering this. "Then again, it was also his idea that I run for Board of Education."
She laughed again and drove off.
"Glad to see you found a way around your injury," said the second one. "Be careful," she added, wagging her finger at me while she pulled away, smiling.
I miss running. I don't even really like it all that much; it's just an expedient and effective form of exercise on the weekends, and I'm going back to it as soon as my ankle can handle it. But roller blading today made me forget, for a little while, that my grey hairs show a little bit more these days; and reminded me that every once in a while it's a good idea to risk looking completely ridiculous.