I felt the cold, hard concrete through the thickness of my jeans as I sat out on the balcony. Light gray clouds covered the sky and a cool breeze found its way through the yellow fence surrounding the balcony. I laced up my roller skates and stood up shakily. The wheels wobbled slightly as I grabbed the icy, metal fence to steady myself. As I gathered my nerves to roll, I gazed out at the scenery. The black pavement below me wound around to the right and through the other houses, leading to a small, blue-ish gray lake. Green and blue paddleboats rested on the shore, the cold weather keeping people away from the lure of the lake. Up the road to the left it split, opening up to a cow field. Every once in a while, when the wind was really howling, the earthy, lank smell of cows would waft through the small village. Leading up to the right, further up the hill, was the church, and, even further, was the Air Force Base where my father worked. I could feel myself feeling carsick from the many rides home in my father’s car, sitting in the backseat, gazing at the brown interior and smelling the stale air.
Another cool breeze brought me back to reality. I gained confidence and began to skate around and around the balcony of our house. I skated in circles, following the fence and keeping my eyes on the green concrete floor. Becoming more and more confident, I eased away from the yellow fence. The wheels of the skates bumped against the rough surface of the balcony. The wind seemed to pick up as I whirled round and round, faster and faster. It became almost freezing, finding its way through the cloth of my sweatshirt, turning my once warm skin cold. I kept skating, feeling exhilarated by the cool air and the sound of the plastic wheels against the hard, jagged concrete. The world spun around me in grays and blacks and yellows. Suddenly I stopped, looking across the street into the woods. The tall, leafless trees loomed dark against the gray of the sky. Their thin branches reached up, swaying in the wind. The smell of the cows permeated the air, telling me that a storm was on the way. Just then, I heard the sliding door squeak open behind me.
“Dinner’s ready, Katie.” My sister poked her head out of our bedroom. I nodded.
She disappeared. I rolled over to the door that my sister just left, took one last look at the grayness behind me, entered the room, and shut the world out behind me.