She sighed deeply. It had been far too long. Growing up, she had spent most of her free time here. It was more of a home to her than the apartment she now shared with her sister, and so much more comfortable. Joy scolded herself quietly for waiting so long to return and, closing her eyes, she welcomed the cool bite of the arena air on her skin.
Joy’s footfalls indented softly into the black rubber-mat flooring as, one foot after the other she strode swiftly towards the home players’ bench. She shrugged her skating bag from her shoulder to her hand and turned to sit on the pine wood bench. Quickly she slipped her ankle pads over her feet and tugged them into the white boots. Her excitement and anticipation grew with every passing second as she laced her figure skates, careful to pull them tight as she’d been taught. Once the foot was secure she moved up the cuff of the boot working the laces tightly, tug, loop, tug, loop, tug, loop and finally a bowtie at the top. She smiled, unable to hold her excitement back any longer. Joy could feel her skin tingling, exhilarated. Gloves on, she pulled her toque over her head and opened the scuffed, blue-topped door to the ice.
It was quiet in the small arena and the heavy metal lever of the door created a loud sound that shot across the surface of the ice echoing back at her off the opposing boards. The sound hit her squarely in the chest, setting off a drum within her that sent her heart racing. Excitement coursed through her veins with the blood and she paused, savoring the moment. Silence quickly returned as she stepped onto the glistening surface.
The soft groan of the ice as her blades made contact greeted her like a long lost friend and she smiled. Flinging one leg to the side she pulled it back towards herself, throwing herself into a twizzle and she felt her tensions leave her, frozen in the air. Stroking, she extended each leg out of habit, pointing her toes, her arms up and head back, just as she’d done for so many years. Around the corners crossovers took over and the sound of her edges cutting into the ice was music to her ears and the cold air brushing over her face had a welcome sting to it. She felt alive. Faster and faster she skated, forwards and backwards, twizzles, brackets and loops thrown in for fun as she worked her tired muscles until finally coming to an abrupt halt with a one-foot stop at the center of the ice. Joy let her head fall back and gulped in the cold air, coughing involuntarily as it hit her lungs.
A bubbling laugh escaped and she danced on her picks, letting the joy take over her as she threw her arms around like a little kid. The only question was what to do next. Sit spin? Waltz jump? Or something more difficult like a loop or a flip? Perhaps a flying camel or even an axel. Joy was so excited. She was going to do them all so much more than once. The excitement and happiness took over once more and laughing, she threw her arms wide and twirled, closing her eyes tightly. This was home. This was perfect.