The weekend before I was supposed to leave Massachusetts, and my family to go to the Lillehammer Olympic training camp, my mother insisted on having a going an away party. I invited the rag-tag bunch, the few kids I sat with in social, and the drama geeks. I knew they wouldn’t come. Still, my mother persevered. She festooned an array of multi-colored streamers and made a small heap of favorite guacamole. Surrounding the coffee table was an excessive amount of confetti popper and champagne glasses.
Then came Saturday, where it was time to leave the rest of my minor life behind. I was mostly done with my packing when the coming of goodbyes for Nancy Kerrigan arrived. The going away goodbyes consisted of my cousin: Emma, who had short blonde hair with rectangular glasses and a ski slope nose, accompanied by her chunky (to be blunt) boyfriend, Miles.
“Hey Nancy,” Miles said as he sat down next to me.
“Hey,” I muttered back.
Grabbing a healthy handful of chips and uttering in between bites.
“So, going away to the Olympic training camp, that should be fun,”
Nodding knowingly, I said, ” Yeah it should be,” Which about exhausted our conversation topics. I never really did enjoy the company of my cousins, they were quite odd. At every family dinner, they would dispute their religious beliefs upon the family, and anyone who questioned their ideals was committing blasphemy. Awkwardly I pushed myself off the sofa and headed to the kitchen where I grabbed a sprite and a bag of chips. Devouring the bag of chips and guzzling down the sprite, in walks my mom who snags the half eaten bag of chips out of my hands and dispenses them into the garbage.
“Nancy you can’t keep eating this trash if you’re going to compete at the Olympic level, maybe try a banana,”
“Moooomm,” I groaned
“I don’t wanna hear it,” she snapped.
Finally, Will trudged to the kitchen, and said, “Well, we just dropped by to say goodbye, I’ve got to be home at 7, so we better get going, good luck at your training camp Nancy,”
“Thanks,” I say relieved. Nothing’s worse than having two vastly lackluster personas show up to your going away party.
After the two left I sat on the couch in between my parents watching the History channel and anticly counting down the minutes till I leave for my flight to the beginning of my new life.
Lillehammer was extremely cold, the type of cold that freezes wet hair in an instant. My parents rented SUV was parked outside the lot in front of my dorm, 97. Each time I took those few steps back and from the car carrying my belongings, which every load felt like far too much. The cold that had seemed mild at first, now number my face and extremities from the extraneous pacing between the car and my room. With each breath, more heat rose in puffs of white smoke.
Between the three of us, it took only a few trips to transport my belongings to my dorm. My room was nicer than I expected. The bedroom was well furnished on a meager budget, but was full of warmth, in the right-hand corner of the room sat a crude pine bunk bed, lined with a wooden frame and blue gymnastic mats that acted as mattresses. I sat on the lower bunk while my mom opened my suitcase and started placing my clothes in varying drawers.
“I can unpack mom,” I said.
“Are you sure?, can I at least make your bed?” Mom said.
“Mom it’s okay, really, I can do it,” trying not to draw it on forever.
“Okay, fine, we’re going to miss you so much Nancy,” she said sitting down next to me. I sat and hugged her for some time, while my dad stood impatiently waiting in the door frame.
“Come on honey, let’s go,” he voiced.
Cautiously stepping over the war zone that was my room, I gave my dad a hug. He rested his chin on the top of my head. His warm body warmed up my cold frame. Whispering to me he said, “I am so proud of you Nancy, you’re going to amazing things in this life,”
“I love you so much, Dad,” I said choking up.
“Don’t do anything stupid Nancy, no drug or alcohol,” he said pulling away. “Okay, I’ll try not to!” I laughed.
“I love you,” they both said in unison. It neede to be said, as uncomfortable as this goodbye was, and well living with my parents for 17 years, the separation finally felt overdue.
After they left I began to unpack my suitcases and fill my drawers. I felt like I should have experienced a more melancholy feeling, but I didn’t. I mostly wanted to go for a skate. So that’s what I did, I grabbed my light blue skating bag, flung it over my shoulder, and headed out the door. I hoped my jacket and my boots would preserve my body heat, but the wind ripped through my jacket.
As I entered the arena, I was greeted by a short muscular girl with an extremely tight blonde ponytail. She was hauling a large green duffle bag with her skates strung over her shoulder. With her came the stale scent of old cigarettes.
“I’m Tonya Harding,” she announced in a deep voice.
“Hi, Nancy Kerrigan, nice to meet you,” sticking out my hand to establish mutual respect. Completely ignoring my handshake, Tonya stated eyeing me up and down, “Oh! So you’re this ‘ice princess’ I’ve been hearing about,”
“Ice princess?” I reserved. Smiling from ear to ear, Tonya cooed, “I’m just messing with you Nanc! I’ll see you on the ice,”
Watching Tonya skate was incredible. She pushed harder and glided on her skates. Her left leg was slightly bent and her right was stretched out behind. With a sudden movement, she kicked her right leg up in front of her so the right knee went up into the air. She skimmed down the ice on her outside edge making sure not to hit any other skaters. She eventually extended her right leg behind, again, and gliding backward. She jumped high into the air, landing angelically. She spun around keeping her body straight and free.
It looked so natural, as is she was meant to be on the ice. Both she and her skates moved fluidly, she was an expert. Wiping a bead of sweat from her brow and gliding towards me, smiling smugly Tonya states, “How’d you like that Nanc?” Trying to avoid Tonya’s glare and her question I stare down at my unlaced skates.
“Just going to ignore me ice princess?” shouted Tonya. “Pfft. You’re pathetic Nanc,” said Tonya walking off the ice and kicking my duffle bag from under my feet.
My knuckles white from clenching my fists too hard, gritting my teeth to keep my head from exploding. Lacing my skates and eagerly stepping onto the ice to cool off. I was the most comfortable in my skates. I began digging my skates into the ice, spinning, and twirling, until my head was clear. Feeling refreshed stepping off the ice and not as hot-headed. I headed back to my dorm for a magnificently cold shower.
The shower stall was made for a 4’5 person. I pulled open the bright yellow shower curtain and ducked into the stall. Crouching down as the cool water trickled down my face, soaking my body. Setting my hands against the showers walls, and my head against my hands, I began to tear up. Negative thoughts flooded my mind, maybe I wasn’t as good as I made myself out to be. Maybe Tonya was right.
Stepping out of the shower, and wiping away the condensation from the full-length mirror hidden behind the door. The reflection of my own nakedness surprised me. My thin arms didn’t get much bigger as they moved down my wrist. My upper body lacked muscle which also embarrassed me. Grabbing the navy blue towel I set aside for myself off the sink’s counter and softly dried myself off. I threw on my pink pajamas speckled with Muppet characters, and began to doze off.
I was abruptly woken up by a hard knocking on the door.
“Hello?” someone called through the door.
“Coming,” I groaned, tumbling out of bed. Opening the door I was greeted by a tall thin girl. Her hair was in deep hues of fierce crimson, which complimented her pale face nicely.
“I’m Billie Eilish,” she announced. Before I could say anything, she added, “I’m more of a bottom bunk kind of gal, is that cool with you?”
“Uh no, whatever’s fine with me,”
“Good, introduce yourself to me, and why you’re at the training camp,” she said.
“Oh, I’m Nancy Kerrigan,” shaking her hang, “I’m here to trial for the Olympics as a figure skater, what about yourself?” Billie grabbed some sheets and tossed them on the top bunk. “Well, Nancy, I’m here competing as a speedskater, I like what you did to the place,” she said gesturing towards my David Bowie poster. “I appreciate you music taste aswell Nanc,” turning around, “you don’t mind if I call you Nanc do you ?”
“I don’t mind,” I said stiffening a laugh, “however due note, the last person who called me Nanc, also wanted me dead. I hope you don’t press the same fate upon me,”
“Who might that be?” questioned Billie.
“Did I hear you correctly Nanc?” I nodded.
“Let’s go for a little walk,” Billie said. She walked out of the room just assuming I’d follow, and I did. The main hallway branched into several rooms, pinned against the walls were the infamous 5 Olympic rings. The sun was descending behind the snow-tipped mountains. I continued to follow Billie outside until she stopped in an obscured alleyway, and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.
“Wanna smoke?” she asked.
“Is it safe here?” I asked.
“Safe enough,” she said, then lit a cigarette, and handed me it. Never smoking before I sucked the smoke deep into my lungs. Coughing and wheezing and having little regard for my lungs, I had to grab onto a handrail so I wouldn’t topple over.
“Smoke much?” snicked Bille.
“Never,” I replied. Passing back the cigarette and watching Billie take an abnormally long drag, she blew a thin stream of smoke.
“Let’s talk about Tonya Nanc,” said Billie taking a drag of her cigarette.
“Why?” I asked.
“Why? Why, because she’s crazy, her last competition in Detroit she gave a poor girl food poisoning so she would come first. She’ll do anything to win,”
“Wow,” was all I could mutter. Unbelievable the lengths someone would go to harm someone for fame and glory. I wondered if she would do the same to me. I was nervous considering I had trials the next day, which I obviously wasn’t going to tell Billie.
“Alright Nanc, it’s that time of night where I’m obliged to go and find my boyfriend, I’ll see you later,”
I decided to walk back to the dorm circle and call it a night.
Early the next morning, I was woken up by the infuriating of my alarm clock. I sat up slowly rubbing my the crust from my eyes. Kicking the covers off and stumbled to the shower. Stepping onto the cold ceramic floor. My stomach was in butterflies. Turning the nozzle and letting the lukewarm water drip down my back and dampen my hair. Today was the day I proved myself to the Olympic panel as a worthy figure skater. My eyes fell closed imagining myself landing the perfect triple axel, that I had been practicing for so long. Opening the door after my shower, a towel wrapped around my chest. I peered on the bunk bed to see Billie sleeping peacefully. Careful not to wake her I grabbed a clean pair of underwear, my Massachusetts University sweatshirts, and my favorite black leggings. After gearing up for the cold stroll down to the rink and wolfing down a banana and a bowl of yogurt.
The nostalgic stale smell of the rink bombarded my nostrils as I stepped inside. Propping myself up against the arena’s glass boards, I see Tonya twirling and spinning herself in front of the judges. We briefly make eye contact. As she winds up for her final trick. Thrusting herself into the air at impeccable speed. Landing elegantly, she bows to the judges and heads off the ice.
Before walking onto the ice, Tonya whispers
“Good luck Nanc,” into my ear. I have performed my routine at least a thousand times, never have I been so nervous. Before I had time to contradict myself, I tiptoed onto the ice. Stopping in front of the judges before I slightly squat just enough to find my balance. I spin around and sink my skates deep into the ice. I attempted to give an extra flick of the toe at the end of each stroke, in order to gain more power. When the time comes to do my final trick, I bend my knees slightly in, stretching my arms out. Pushing out with both feet I twirl on the ice. While making sure to maintain pressure on my skates, so I don’t fall or slip. I abruptly stop creating a sheen of snow. A judge with thick brimmed glasses and arctic blonde hair nods his head and says, “thank you,”
Putting on my skate guards while I walk back to the changeroom when an unidentified man runs up, striking me in the knee. Pain shoots up my knee, as I whale in agony. A team of medical staff rush to my side and begin stabilizing my leg. As I scream, “why? Why me?”
Hey tim I need an ending I don’t know how to conclude it, and it’s very late while I write this. I am extremely tired – thanks