On the Second Day of Christmas

by HelluvaGirl

We go ice-skating with the kids.

Pia remembers A from last summer when the four of us went to Bernardinai park together – they totally clicked. A looked after her on the playground as me and him were catching up on the bench, watching them from a distance. The children went hysterical in the car, making up poems with swear words, screaming with laughter as he brought us home.

She asked me recently “when we were going to see that big boy again” and now was really excited to learn that we were meeting up for an adventure – I have ice-skated when I was Pia’s age; she has never done it before.

A bit hungover from last night, I again start having reservations about it being a good idea. Ice, cold, falling over, getting a fracture…

We buy A some deli sweets at the mall. When they show up, she gives the box to A herself.

Pia is very picky when it comes to communication: when she doesn’t feel like talking to people, she explains she doesn’t know them. I tell her then she ought to introduce herself because that’s the way acquaintanceships and friends are made. With some people, I don’t need to encourage her.

He asks me if I brought warm socks when all of us are sorting out elbow and knee protectors in the changing room. Of course I didn’t, I don’t need them. He leaves and after a minute returns with a new pair.

I was about to go to her place to see the gang but they crashed the club after you left. So it appears she was drunk and crazy enough to call your ex and tell him we were together or something. I have no idea what he’ll be like when I return… And actually in the end she quite effectively brainwashed me into feeling guilty and starting to question this whole situation. Maybe this is really wrong? But then I fail to understand how exactly wrong it is.

I look at him in disbelief – but rather amused, to be frank.

She must really hate me! You know what truly surprises me? You have a sort of relationship with someone, then 10 years later, in the minds of so many people, you are still attached to that person as if you were Siamese twins, as if you still belonged together, even though everyone has new partners and families, and what not.

He’s trying hard to be objective about this.

But isn’t there a limitation period?

Well well, what you’re gonna do now? The funny thing is that we were just standing there, smoking. We could’ve been sitting at different tables with other people. However, to someone passing by, it’s a novel before even we know what’s going on.

Someone from old days joins us in the changing room with his boy. He says hello, looks at me and Pia for a while, then at him, and asks:

You’re Kris, right?

I nod. He nods.

The first 15 minutes on ice are challenging but rather quickly we get to grips with it and before we know it, he approaches asking if we want a second session. We do! Man, why don’t we do it every weekend? I miss out on so many fun activities just because I feel so passive and lazy most of the time! I totally need a push from the outside every now and then… Maybe I should even get my own skates?

A catches up with me to ask if I want to try skating in the middle of the arena. I notice he addresses me in plural. I ask him not to and he says ok.

Pia is doing great and soon refuses to support herself with the little penguin for beginners. We are having an amazing time. The air is fresh and crisp from the ice but we are warm from the inside. The boys are in the local hockey team and willingly help us with tips and tricks.

Afterwards, we go to have pizza. Pia couldn’t be happier. The kids sit at a separate table and make their own orders. Me and him leave them with the friend watching over and sneak out for a smoke.

He looks good. Too thin now, as he puts it, but still stylish. I mock his hipster beard. He asks me if I hate men in beards and I say yes. He looks at me in a manner that makes me shy away.

I turn my head to see an old and very dear friend coming out from the mall. Someone who actually was a real friend in that gang. I don’t think he recognises me the first seconds – or perhaps doesn’t believe his eyes, but I smile and say:

Lookie here!

He approaches us, speechless.

Ok, is this Christmas or what?! I look at him standing there in his beard and think what could he possibly be doing, smoking in this place just like that?.. And then I look at you. The two of you, randomly, here? I need a moment with this, ok. Haven’t seen you for what – 10 years, girl?

We hug heartily. A summary of who lives where follows as we go inside to not freeze. He smiles wide and looks truly happy to see us. After a short catching up, we part, and I say:

Ok, so pretty much everyone, right?

We’re gonna be burned at the stake.