On a Hot Day
I threaded my skate key on a shoelace and wore it around my neck. Whenever I put on my metal skates, tightened the clamps that attached to my tie shoes, and buckled the straps, I felt like flying. I wore sidewalk skates with ball bearing wheels that screeched across cement.
I'm not allowed to skate in the street, nor cross streets. We head toward the Grand Concourse, pass two long alleyways, and my doctor's building. At the place where the street turns, we turn and head back down the block.
The street slopes and after pushing off, I gain speed. Buildings blur and the sound of my skates muffles my voice. I'm not brave enough to turn the corner and skate down the hill to the Jerome overhead subway.
Skating the three long blocks down to the overhead subway conveyed upon all successful skaters a seal of respect. No one in elementary school attempted those hills-- which we compared to the roller coaster at Coney Island. After a boy I didn't know broke both arms and one leg the rite of passage changed to an alleyway.