I look out at the snowy ground, and the footprints I trampled in it. Then I look back at the pond. It's frozen over of course, but I don't like this. Not one bit.

I take a step backward, and it puts me off balance, causing me to fall onto the ground, snow going up my pants.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Someones coming. Owen's face peers into my line of vision.

"You ok?"

"Yup. Help me up?"

Owen helps me up, then glances at my skates.

"You're going ice skating," he clarifies.

I smile. "Yup."

"But. . ."


". . .Want help?


"Is yup the only thing you can say?"


"Okay. Here, sit down, you put your ice skates on the wrong way."

Owen and I sit down, and he tugs my left skate off.

"Why are you here anyway? I mean, when you're mom, you know. . .When it happened here, I thought you'd, you know, never come back here."

I stiffen. "Things change."

"Yes, they do. I know that. But how did things change?"

I look at the disturbed snow around my legs.

"I-I was walking home with the groceries, and I took the faster route, just because."

I falter.

"Go on." Owen encourages me as he tightens the laces of my left skate.

"A-and there the park, and I cut through the park. I forgot about it. I never go that way during winter. But I forgot."

I take a deep breath.

"There were these kids," I whisper. "There was a toddler and a 10-year-old. The toddler was taking its first steps. The 10-year-old was zooming along the ice like crazy. There were a few other people too."

"What made you single out them?" Owen double knots the laces.

"One. . .one was only being and the other was a master. It made me think about myself. I was really good, remember? Before mom died."

Owen freezes."I don't want to pressure you to talk about it." 

"No," I say quietly, then louder. "No, it's fine. I've been putting it off for too long now.

When she died, I stopped going ice skating. I was scared I was going to fall through the ice. Even when I learned it was because of an unexpected temperature rise, I never went. But you have to face your fears sometime, right? I read it in a book. So that's what I'm trying to do. Face my fears."

"But you didn't go there."

"That's too much. You know that Daniel Tiger song? It was like 'try it a little bit at a time'. I'm gonna start with ice skating. Then, maybe, after that, I might go there. After a little while, maybe even ice skate there. But not today. I'm trying it a little bit at a time."

Owen hesitated. "My cousins a therapist. He's coming over tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow, he can come, and help you out?"

I let out an exhale. "Sure."


"Yesterday," Kevin tells me. "You weren't ready. You were looking for a way out, and when Owen gave it to you, you took it. I can help with starting out but after that long of a traumatic experience that you never got out of years after? I'm not good enough for that. You'd need a professional. I have a few contacts you can use, but before you take them, we should try it out. I am very good at ice skating, so this will be easier for me than most cases where you don't sit and talk, you do stuff."


"Alright, so we got everything, but before we do anything, you got to test the ice."

I hesitate. "How will that help?"

"It'll help your courage, and make it easier for you to go onto the ice. It'll confirm that the ice is solid. of course, it won't be one hundred percent believable, but it'll help."

". . .I hope you're right."

I tap the surface of the pond. The ice cracks under the weight and I stumble back, everyone staring at the crack.

"I guess the ice was thin today?" Kevin suggests

I run home and bury my head into a pillow. If I hadn't taken Kevin's advice, I would've gone down. Like, Mom. 

I remember how the ice had cracked. Her look of fear. Mom had never been scared. How the ice had caved in, her going with it. How she grasped the cold ice, trying to go back onto land. How she couldn't. How the black water had swallowed her whole. Right before, when she shouted for me to go. She had saved my life. But it had cost her her life.

 I had been stupid. I hadn't called for help. I didn't help. I just stood there and stared. I hadn't known what else to do. Never again would I Ice Skate. Never again.


3 years later

I laugh at Owen's joke.

It's one of those jokes where it's so not funny that it becomes funny.

"You know," Owen says. "Three years ago we tried. That was three years after. Mabe, now that it's been three years, we can try again?"

I lick my lips. "Maybe."

Soon we're driving down the road, toward Hoover Ice Skating Rink. Owen is at the wheel, of course, him being 16, and me being 15. We soon arrive. It's a red dome, with lots of people crowded inside.

"Here?" I ask in disbelief.

"Naw." Owen shakes his head. "I'm gonna rent one of those tinier rinks. This place is so big that there are like a dozen rinks. I'm paying with some of my work money.

"But that's your money! Don't spend it on me."

"It for a greater cause," Owen tells me.

"I still don't agree."

"Never said you had to."

He pulls into an empty spot, and we climb out of the car.

Owen takes out his phone and calls the Hoover Ice Rink Staff.

"Hi I'm Owen Jenkins, I'd like to rent a mini rink?"

Owen talks to them for a while before hanging up and turning to me.

"We got Mini Ice Rink B11. Follow me."

Owen leads me into the doors, then down a deserted hallway, with only a few people in it. He opens a door labeled B11, and we step inside.

It's a mini replica of the bigger rink back the was we came from, only a few square feet big. 

I tug on my figure skates, Owen; his hockey skates, and soon I stand at the entrance, looking at the ice.

"Try it a little bit at a time," Owen sings out-of-tune, mimicking Daniel Tiger.

I smack his hands. "That's annoying. Don't do that."

"Which means you like it!"

"No, I don't. Let me concentrate."

I take a deep breath and take a step out onto the ice.

January 23, 2021 00:25

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Amy Jayne Conley
09:05 Jan 29, 2021

I really loved the fact that the main character kept trying to overcome their fear, and (I like to think) actually did it! I love that Owen was there helping her - he clearly understood what she was feeling and that empathetic supporting character is so relatable - we're all, at some point, the main character, and all at some point, the Owen. The story arc was really lovely, too - there was the higgledy-piggledy 'I wanna do it - I don't wanna do it - I should do it' fear conquering that came through the entire time, and I loved that!! One qu...


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Breahna Lesemann
23:38 Jan 27, 2021

I like the idea of the main character overcoming a fear and trauma. It lends itself to a nice character arc. I think it would create more tension to tell the reader what happened to the mother at the beginning of the story. Maybe as a flashback. Also I was a bit confused on the ages of the characters. They were kids, but some of the dialogue felt grown up. I like that the friend is helping the main character. It shows a strong bond.


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Danit Schleman
14:29 Jan 24, 2021

Love this!


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