Life really does present many of us with ups and downs, as if we are on a roller coaster ride. Lots of times the downs can present themselves unexpectedly and we must brace for the worse. We just plummet and must handle it in a positive manner, by getting back up and starting again.
This morning I encountered a young couple, probably in their early 20’s, walking ahead of me up a steep street located in the hills just north of my neighborhood. The girl was petite with long pink hair while the guy was very tall and lanky. She was wearing baggy neon green sweatpants, a black tank-top, and sneakers. Over her shoulders she had slung a small backpack. He wore an oversized dark blue t-shirt and jeans. He also had on a brown baseball cap and a pair of Nikes. Both were holding a skateboard, hers smaller than his. I could hear their chitter chatter but was far enough back that I had no clue what was being said. I heard laughter, watched them embrace, and just before they made it to the top of the hill, I witnessed the guy pluck a rose from a resident’s garden and gently present it to his girl.
Sweet. Innocent. Young. Love.
Our foot pace was rhythmically the same, therefore, I naturally maintained the same distance behind them, until they stopped at the top.
Like many people, due to COVID19, I have been confined to working from home so I took the opportunity to enjoy early morning walks. I have walked enough consistent days that my trek up that super steep climb didn’t faze me nor did it create a huge gap between myself and the young couple. When they stopped at the summit and as I closed the distance between us I noticed pink-haired girl gently swinging her skateboard while looking down the flipside of the street. Steep, but not so much as the incline. I slowed my pace when I heard the guy state, very nicely, “You are going to try this,” not to ask her, rather to remind her that she said she was all in.
I could have mentioned all the bad things that could happen (because, well, I do probably have almost 40 something wise years on them) but the reality is that people want and will do what they choose. Seriously, don’t tell me how to live my life. Let me figure it out and if I need your advice, well, maybe I’ll ask for it.
All I could think was how young and sweet they seemed together. Enjoying their walk and each other. Holding hands. He freed her of the small backpack and gently pocketed the rose while she put her board down on the pavement, ready of fly. Just before she took off he said, “Don’t go in a straight line, instead, zigzag back and forth to slow yourself down.” She smiled, which to me seemed like an ‘OK,’ smile that is full of nerves.
By this point I was just walking over the summit and slowly began jogging downward. I was probably 10 feet down when I heard the spinning wheels of the skateboard and her voice shout, “Watch out!” to me as she sailed on by. Flying pretty fast, trying to maneuver as instructed, zigzagidy, back and forth; though, she seemed unsure how to actually move the skateboard back and forth. Not only was the board wobbly, so was she. Just when I noticed that the girl was possibly going to lose her balance, Lanky dude went zooming passed me on the opposite side and easily boarded down the gravel street. He passed her. Big smile on his face while he looked over at her, seemingly so proud of the balanced bravery she was showing and also seemingly feeling pumped for being such a cool boyfriend.
And then it happened.
He should have been very specific and told her to make wide zigzags, that she should roll from one side of the street to the other. Back and forth.
Pink haired girl flopped forward after losing her grip on the skateboard. She had lost control and simply flew full frontal to the ground. She was hurt. She sat up just as her boyfriend ran up to her, asking if she was ok. I thought about intervening but knew I couldn’t. That she was embarrassed enough and didn’t need a random person to assist. She had her love interest with her and that was enough.
I am going to assume that that small adventure she just experienced was part of her roller coaster ride, a downfall, and with determination she will get back up and move forward. And climb again.