It is just on the edge of my consciousness, like a fish flashing silver as it jumps out of the sea. I turn away, but it keeps leaping up, teasing me, screaming look at me, look at me. But I can’t. Not yet.
Instead, I eat breakfast, nothing fancy; today’s not the day to try anything new. I hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Something still hovers in my peripheral vision, but I’m not ready yet. It’s too soon. I try to find things to do, anything so I won’t think about what I’m getting ready to do tonight.
I wash my bearings, scrub my wheels, re-tape my skates. Sometimes, I even wash my pads, although there is a school of thought that the smellier they are, the better, in order to poison the opposing team. Any yet that sliver of thought, the game, my performance, skating, is constantly niggling me, but I have yet to look.
The day goes by agonizingly slow. The day goes by quickly. Finally, it’s time. I turn my head and look, allowing my thoughts to go to the night ahead. I imagine myself knocking over other skaters, dodging through the pack, my feet pumping, moving, my body a battering ram, an arrow.
At the Armory I gear up: Knee gaskets, pads, skates, helmet, mouth guard. I take one last breath then step onto the track. I am Jenny Rotten.