After I was old enough to drive, I started hanging out at the roller rink a couple of small towns over. The roller rink was small too. It seemed like we were turning more than we were going straight. I always ended up with a blister on one side of one foot since we only skated one song in the opposite direction.
There was a little girl that would go skating when I was there too. She was about 5 years old. Her parents would drop her off during open skating and head to the bar next door. It seems like when someone shirks off their responsibilities, other people take it on. Good thing I was like a big sister, protective instead of predatory. There was one occasion though when she protected me. I was hanging out with another friend when this older girl came up to my friend shoving her and accusing her of looking at her boyfriend. I told this older girl to leave my friend alone. She took my head and bashed it into the wall. My little friend told the owner I was in trouble and he kicked the older girl out. She promised she would find me and kick my ass in the parking lot when skating was over. I admit I was a bit worried. I was used to getting hurt by my brother, but was not good at fighting back. I refused to leave early, but she never showed.
The second time someone got kicked out again inadvertedly had to do with me. My mom thought it would be a good idea to take Matt roller skating with me. Mom took Matt by the hand, gently leading him around the rink like a small child. The slow skate started and the lights dimmed. Matt had to go to the bathroom. Mom took off his skates and put on his shoes. On the way out he grabbed a little girl by the hair and started kicking her over and over. It took a couple of people to get him off of her. The girl’s dad was furious. Once again, the owner came over and kicked us out. My mom was crying, apologizing profusely, saying it wasn’t his fault. The owner was understanding, but said we would have to leave just the same.
It was storming when we left the skating rink. I drove home in the pouring rain, tears pouring from my eyes. I screamed at my mom that I was never having kids because I never wanted to have one like Matt. My mom kept repeating over and over that she was thankful that Matt did not have his roller skates on while he was kicking that girl. We were both crying hysterically, the thunder a perfect crescendo for our outpouring of grief. I remember listening to In A Gadda Da Vida the whole mournful trip home. It was just another day in the life.