After I called my mom and explained the situation, I started towards the bench where Diana and I had taken off our shoes. As I sat down and reached under the bench I felt Damien sit down beside me. “I’m sorry we have to split like this,” I started to say. I got as far as the word split when Damien’s mouth closed over mine. I remember thinking, “hmm…he must chew cinnamon gum.” And then the kiss was over. We sat looking at each other for a minute until Ricky came skating up.
“In a minute.” Damien didn’t move, didn’t break my gaze.
“No…now! Do you know how old she is? She’s Shelly’s age, for Pete’s sake!”
Damien turned his head to look at Ricky. “Shelly who?”
“My LITTLE sister! Now come on!” Ricky shook his head in disgust and skated off. Damien turned slowly back towards me with a questioning look in his eyes. “You’re…what? Twelve?”
I felt my heart sink. I couldn’t look him in the eye. I managed to squeak out, “Thirteen and nine months…,” just as he jumped up, swore under his breath and took off after Ricky. I sat staring in disbelief. What had just happened? What happened to our dance…our kiss? Was I suddenly nothing… just because I happen to be thirteen. Then I remembered Diana.
I unlaced my skates, put on my shoes, grabbed her shoes and my skates and headed up front. When I got there, Diana was sitting on one of the little kid benches with a bread bag of ice on her hand and her skates sitting beside her. Her eyes were puffy and the green eye shadow was smeared down one cheek. I sat down beside her and told her my mom was on the way to pick us up and my dad was trying to reach her parents at her grandmother’s house. I knelt down in front of her and helped her put her shoes on.
“I ruined everything,” she said and the tears began to flow again. I jumped up and ran to the concession window, grabbed some napkins and ran back. “Here” I said and handed her all but one. That one I used to wipe the rest of her eye makeup off with. Then, remembering my mother was on her way I took another napkin from her and wiped mine off as well.
“You know,” I said, “it was really Ricky that blew it, not you. You can’t help that you got the worst end of our crash.”
“Yeah…he always acted like such a big shot when we went to slumber parties at Shelly’s. He’d come in and try to impress us by lifting weights or telling us there was an escaped convict so he needed to stay close to protect us. Then he’d have some loser friend of his throw things at the windows to scare us. I guess it’s no great loss after all.” Diana paused and then said, “But what about Damien…I mean, you guys were amazing out there!”
“Ricky told him our age…I think that’s pretty well the end of the story.” I tried to be nonchalant about it, but Diana could tell I was upset.
“His loss,” she said with a grin. “Damn straight,” I answered back.
About that time, my mom showed up and we rushed through the story one more time, leaving out the dancing and holding hands with the boys as much as we could. The manager came over with his number for my mom to call, to let him know how Diana was. The whole time my mom was saying how she knew it was a mistake to let us come by ourselves and how if she had been there, none of this would have happened, and suddenly, I felt my blood boil over.
“How in the hell would you have kept Diana from getting hurt? What are you, some kind of wonder woman? If you’re so great, why don’t you try keeping your husband in his own bed?” My mother stood there, mouth hanging open, staring at me as if she’d never seen me before in her life. She didn’t say a word, just turned slowly, her arm around Diana and led her out of the rink. I looked around, but except for a few small kids giggling over the word ‘hell’ no one appeared to have heard me. I picked up our skates and headed for the door.