She was beautiful and elegant in her figure skating dress. He was handsome in his perfectly fit costume that sculpted his athletic frame. As the meticulously sharpened blade of their ice skates propelled them into the center of the skating arena, both were ready to perform the long program that they’ve been rehearsing, aiming for a spot to qualify in the US National Figure Skating competition.
Maggie and William had been training partners in ice dancing since they were in grade school. They had won in local and regional competitions. As they got older, they bonded and became the best of friends, and in their early 20’s, they were an inseparable duo both in and out of the ice rink. Needless to say, the way they moved, the way they looked at each other, and the way they touched, was unmistakably a picture-perfect example of two people in love.
As the music Bolero started to play, they danced their hearts out. Flips, lifts, twists, and synchronized movements, they moved as one. Just like their previous performances, every move was with precision and perfection, one complementing the other. In the end, they secured the most coveted spot to compete in the US National Figure Skating. This had been the dream that they wanted to pursue, and promised to each other that they will stop at nothing, until they qualify to compete in the Winter Olympics.
But fate and destiny had a different plan. On their way home after a late afternoon practice, William dropped Maggie off to her mother’s veterinary clinic in downtown Seattle. As she opened the clinic door, a small brown Labradoodle ran out, into the busy street. Maggie instinctively followed and ran after the little canine. Unaware of the signal light that turned green in the intersection, when she was about to scoop the dog, a fast Ford Mustang hit her which sent her tumbling down on the sidewalk and landed on her back on the ground. When she regained consciousness and opened her eyes, she was already lying on a hospital bed in the recovery room. The surgeon who did the operation explained to her that the bone on her left leg was fractured and a steel rod has to be placed to stabilize it. Her right knee cap was badly broken and displaced. The prognosis of whether she will be able to skate again was indeterminable, depending on how she will heal and respond to physical therapy. But even if she will totally heal, there was no guarantee that she will be able to skate again the way she used to. She was heart-broken and devastated…she could not accept that this may be the end of her dream, and William’s.
For the duration of her hospital stay and recovery, and even after her discharge back home, William was always with her, assisting to regain her strength and trying to cheer her up. As the days went by, the date of the competition is nearing, and hard as it will be, the most difficult decision has to be made. William will have to find a new partner if he wanted to take part in the competition. He chose to drop out, as he could not imagine skating without Maggie as his partner. William’s final decision could not be bent and he would not listen to anyone’s encouragement and persuasion…even Maggie’s begging to “skate for both of us”.
A month had passed after the US Nationals. William lost his interest and drive to even tie the laces of his skates or visit the ice rink. He regularly came to visit Maggie, as that’s what his 3x/week routine. On one Thursday evening, Maggie’s mother answered the door bell, opened the door, but instead of Maggie meeting him, an envelope was handed to him; he was informed that Maggie left Seattle the day before, with specific instruction to not try to find her…ever. William felt his head was spinning, not understanding why all of a sudden, Maggie left without any reason that he could think of. No words escaped from his lips, as if his vocal cords became so tight, that speaking was impossible. All he did was just stared at the sealed envelope in his hand; then he slowly turned back towards the driveway, and started to walk away from Maggie’s home…and her life. When he reached home, he went directly to his room and locked the door. He was still staring at the now crumpled envelope. Part of him wanted to just throw it in the garbage, but he needed to know the reason why Maggie left. Perhaps, the letter inside will give him the answer to his questions. As he read the letter, his most dreaded reality crushed his whole being. Maggie ended their relationship, saying that she could not bear to watch him slowly drifting away from pursuing his dream and his future…it was over for both of them. But again, her final words before she signed her name was “skate for both of us”. That was the last time he heard from Maggie.
Over the past 25 years, progress of Maggie’s recovery was very good. She can walk steadily, although occasionally, when she lost her footing, she struggled a bit with her gait and balance. Otherwise, one could not recognize any major residual of her injury. She came to the point of accepting the fact that the ice rink was no longer her comfort zone. Instead of feeling sorry for what happened, she went to school and concentrated in getting and finishing a degree that help rehabilitate athletes. But more than she cared to admit, William was still in her thoughts, and could not totally get him out of her system; wondering where and how he was. She had been living a life of maybe’s and what if’s, and time and again, she felt the pain within and oftentimes, beset with longing to be with him. William on the other hand left Seattle and put all his time and effort in training as a skier. He did not intend to compete, but he wanted to teach potential athletes how to ski. With a friend, they taught skiing lessons in the slopes of Colorado. Even with the passing of time, his love for Maggie never did change, and he respected her wish to not find her. He knew in his heart that somewhere, Maggie was also thinking about him.
After she graduated with a degree of Chiropractic Medicine, Maggie settled in a quiet little town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and started a private practice along with another colleague. The “Heart Of The Slopes” Therapeutic Center specializes and helps in the rehabilitation of athletes with disorders and injury of the muscles and joints. The clinic is usually busy whole year, but much more during wintertime when aspiring athletes come for training on the icy slopes. One equally busy morning, an emergency transport came to a sudden stop in front of the clinic, and a skier in a wheelchair was rushed inside. According to the slopes first responders, the young man lost his balance and fell during his practice run down the mountain. He was with a group of aspiring skiers who came to train in the slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Maggie was busy assessing his injury, when she heard a man’s voice asking about the condition of her patient. She was positive, she heard that familiar voice before. As she turned away from the examining table to face the owner of that familiar voice, her heartbeat started to race. She was not mistaken, as there she was, face to face with William. Both of them were stunned to see each other again, for the first time after twenty five years. William said her name, and in just two short strides, he closed the gap between them, and now standing in front of her. He then wrapped her in his arms, as if never to let her get away again. She nestled in his embrace, and she knew, she will not be alone again.
Time stood still for the both of them. No words escaped from their lips; only their hearts spoke the same language of love that they kept within, that never changed even with the passing of time. Yes, they each followed a different dream, not the dream that they envisioned to pursue together. But the path that they created led them to the direction where they met again, picked up from where they left off, to create the dream that they will share for the rest of their lives.
They exchanged their wedding vows in the skating center where they first met and trained. Even in their 50’s, they still are exactly the same perfect pair, who ice danced 25 years ago. Indeed, time does not exist for those who love.