By JAMILA RIZVI
For my eighth birthday I wanted roller-skates.
For me, those roller skates were a representation of everything that was cool. In fact, I hadn’t really made any plans for my life after the day I would become the proud owner of The Roller Skates. White roller skates to be precise – with white laces and blue wheels. Once I had them, my life would be complete.
I had wanted them forever (okay, maybe a year, less?) But my unusually cruel and harsh parents insisted that I learn to ride my bike before I got yet another piece of sporting equipment that I wouldn’t use. Meanies.
The problem was that I wasn’t the most confident of little kids. Especially when it came to anything where there was even a remote possibility that I could get hurt.
I was the five-year-old that stood at the top of the water-slide for half an hour, generously letting other kids go in front of me, waiting for a gap in the line so I could climb back down the stairs without anyone noticing – too scared to go down the actual slide.
I was scared of heights. I was scared of being hit in the face by a ball. I was scared of the snow. I was scared of diving into a pool, in case I hit my head on the bottom. And I was terrified of learning to ride my bike. But you see, I had to do it. I had to. The Roller Skates depended on it.
We had been practicing on the school oval for hours, with he and my mum taking turns at pushing me. Poor mum, after almost breaking her back from bending over and holding the seat of the bike, while she pushed it along had finally had enough and taken my little sister home. My dad persevered.
For a dad who was sports mad and when it came to anything athletic had essentially no fear – it must have been tough pushing his prissy little daughter around all day and night. I still remember saying again and again ‘don’t let go dad, don’t let go’ because I honestly believed that the end was nigh for me if I was left to pedal alone. The harshness of the grassy landing that awaited me when the bike inevitably tipped, would surely spell my DOWNFALL.