Seventh grade. Billy Montgomery. Skate Night.
Thursday morning, I poured each of these details into my English class journal. My mom finally agreed to let me go to skate night. Wednesday night was church night, but after much pleading, cajoling, begging, sweet-talking, and tears, my mother agreed to freedom on four wheels. I got to go. Waiting in the entrance line, I tried to keep my goofy grin in check. I wanted to seem natural. Cool. Aloof. But the sweet sounds of Starship poured out the door. “We built this city on rock and roll…”
As I tied on my skates, girlfriends popped here and there whispering and giggling about some “he” or “him.” I stepped in the rink confident. I was sporting Guess jeans and a Coca-cola rugby shirt. After a few times around picking up friends with each pass, I eased into the feel of the skates and tried a few of my fancy feet moves. I glided each foot into a crossover as I turned the corners of the oval rink. Only the more experienced skaters even attempted the crossover. My feet and head bopped with the tunes.
And then they slowed. Couple skate. Now there were obvious couple skaters – the guys and chicks that had been together since fifth grade. Those were the ones whose names went together. Like Jason-n-Monica. You couldn’t say one name without the other. “Did you invite Jason-n-Monica to your party?” or “I wonder what Jason-n-Monica think about the new Trapper Keepers.”
The other givens for couple skating were the current pairs who were “going together.” You remember, “Will you go with me? Check yes, no, or maybe.” Then there were the surprise skaters. The ones you never thought you’d see holding hands sharing an intimate moment over a little REO Speedwagon. Insert Billy Montgomery.
Billy was my friend. I liked him. We had been in the same class for years. But I never dreamed of couple skating with Billy. Until that night. What Billy offered was not just a hand to hold. He offered power and prestige. You see, there was power in gliding along hands clasped in front of the entire seventh-grade body. It meant you were wanted. People would look at you different at the water fountain the next day. Forever more, there would be something about you just a little out of the ordinary. And people would be drawn to you.
Billy offered me that power and prestige. As did God. He asked me to couple skate, as well. God knows all the cool moves. He can definitely do the crossover. When I paired up with God, everyone knew I was wanted. People looked at me different in the Wal-mart line. Forever more, there is something about me just a little out of the ordinary. And people are drawn to me…because of Him. With Him I am stronger. I watch every step He takes and follow along beside Him because we are a pair. Him and me. It’s a couple skate.