I saw her skate across the glaze of water. All in one movement, arms out for balance, she bent, pushed off her left foot and skimmed for three or four feet before stopping. She came back and did it again. Her mouth thinned to a line in concentration. I walked into her peripheral vision. She shook her head, embarrassed, and smiled. We were alone. I too smiled and set my items on the counter and told her that I liked what she was doing, but that I did not know what she was doing.
The garden section of this big box store was open to the breeze and the sun. ‘Terry’ (the name on her store badge) said that she had only been with the store for a month and as part of her training they were moving her from department to department. She had swept dirt away, rearranged displays, watered plants, and when she saw the water pooling off to the side of her register, she started to make imprints of her hand first, then her sneakers, and when she discovered a slight sheen of oil mixing with the water, she had begun to see if she could slide. She laughed as we spoke. I asked if she had skated as a kid. No, but she wanted her girls to learn. It had always looked like so much fun. But out here, once she had gone through her checklist of duties, there was nothing to do. So, she skated alone on the concrete.
We said our pleasant goodbyes. I watched her for a few seconds from my car. She looked around. No one here. No one there. The coast was clear. Looking like a surfer on a long wave, she crouched and once more let go into her glide.