Thoughts of kickflips and 50/50 grinds slid through my mind as if on a polished granite ledge. The thoughts flipped and spun and twisted my head into a different world. Skateboarding; and I could not think of anything else. And why not? I certainly didn’t need to think of other things. I was a teenager in the summer. But it was a rare day in the summer. I had plans. Plans to board a flight to New Jersey to see my cousins.
At the airport people walked fast and concise. They had places to be. Looking around for an individual who knows his way, I spotted a man in a suit with a polka dot tie. He had a fancy leather suitcase with wheels, all his items organized, efficiency seem to be his game.
“Excuse me, I was wondering if you had an idea where the flight times are?” I asked with a great effort to seem polite and harmless.
“Oh…all right,” he replied. Confused I asked, “So you…do know where the...where the times are held?”
“There not yet posted?” For some reason he said it as a question rather than a statement.
Not knowing what to say I said, “Um, I’m not sure.”
He turned his head 90 degrees away from me, though his eyes made a revolution in the opposite direction, towards me. He then drew his finger and pointed it at his Bluetooth. He gave off a look that told me to get a clue, to get lost. I hated it and I hated Bluetooths. I didn’t wish to be in New Jersey either, although I was still glad to be seeing my cousins. My mind was on the Jefferson skatepark back in Seattle, and the freedom of smooth concrete.
I found the flight screens myself. Looking up at the flight schedule, I knew there wasn't enough time to learn a trick but there was plenty of time to spare before my departure. “I’ll grab a bite to eat,” I said to myself.
The food was good, but now the time had come. My dreaded fear. I had to enter a skateboarder’s prison: no skateboarding allowed on planes. I got up from the table and got over to the gate. No one was there. Not a soul in a suit talking on a Bluetooth. I had missed my flight.
My hand was dealt and I had received a royal flush. But I saw a tiny whole of broken ice to swim up to. It was hope. Hope that would get me to the skatepark, yet be able to get me on a different flight for no additional fee. I worked things out with the Delta airlines workers. I was to catch a red-eye flight in eight hours. Enough time to learn a trick, maybe even two. I was off to the Jefferson skatepark, and the further I got away from the airport the more ready I was to skate. Once I got to the skatepark, I no longer had my mind on the skatepark; I had my wheels on the skatepark.
Needing a safe place to put my keys I scouted out for a local that knew the park well. A kid probably a few years older than me, wearing a black cotton t-shirt and some cameo shorts, he stood on his skateboard with a welcoming presence. I went over to ask him where I might put my keys, but before I could say anything he held out his hand. I shook his hand as he introduced himself: “Jeff. Your name?”
I gave him my name back. “Where should I put my keys?” I asked.
He didn’t say anything, he just walked over to a lamppost. “This is a little hiding spot you can use.”
I placed my keys in the spot under the post right as Connor showed up. Connor was my best summer friend and will always be as long as we have the summers off. Kids skated and talked and watched one another skate. The skate park was a community, a home. Nobody was anxious to be elsewhere. We all were where we wanted to be, where we loved to be. No one had plans or was arranging plans. No one was waiting for the future. Finished up and spent, Connor and I sat down on the deep end coping of the bowl. I heard the sound of the plane above, but when I looked up it was long gone.