Almost forgetting that I promised to give my student my skateboard, I rushed back to my house and took it down from the shelf, where it had been collecting dust for the past 11 years.
My fingers wrapped around the board, and I held it naturally by the side of my torso, in my right hand. The sandpaper grip, the smooth but scratched wooden underside, the slight rattle of the trucks as I moved – took me back 11 years. 11 freaking years… when I was just a pimply, awkward, spiky-gelled-hair, punk-wannabe in sec 4. A sad longing stirred in me… I recognized it as nostalgia. I am not one to care about material belongings but this skateboard…this skateboard is the one true evidence that I was once a boy.
A boy whose favourite cartoon character was Bart Simpson; always dreaming that he could skate home from school, through the streets, avoiding cars, ollie-ing over curbs, just like how Bart Simpson did in the intro for Simpsons. A boy who worshipped Tony Hawk, watched X-games in awe and admiration as skateboarders did their tricks on the half-pipe, railings, flat ground, etc. More memories came flooding back, painful ones; like the time when I fell and landed on my lower back so hard that I thought I was going to be paralysed. And the most significant time when I tried to ollie but ended up breaking my arm in the midst of O-levels, after the English paper. I remembered seeing my pale face in the mirror, cold sweat, excruciating pain. I could still hear the ‘crack’ near my elbow when I fell. I reminisced sitting for the Chemistry paper with my broken arm still dangling, unslung, uncast, dull – throbbing – pain. I could see myself getting my arm cast, the doctor joking that I have to re-sit for O-levels the following year . Of course I proved him wrong, finishing my other papers with that bulky, casted arm. Difficulty bathing and difficulty sleeping in a cast. Difficulty playing Diablo 2 in a cast. Attending Prom night in a cast and having all my idiot friends sign, “Backstreet boys rock!” or drawing some other vulgar crap on my cast.
More memories resurfaced. I recall scouring the neighbourhoods with Xue En in the lead (on roller blades), Tim next to me (skateboard), Keong struggling desperately to keep up as if he was walking on stilts when he was actually (on roller blades). We thought we looked damn cool, carrying our gear everywhere and in school. But what I remember most clearly was the feeling of speed and freedom as the wind rushed past my ears while my left foot propelled me across the smooth,flat ground. And because I could never learn to ollie, I could never travel like how Bart Simpson did, but still – this skateboard and the memories I had with it were one of the defining moments of my teenage years and my teenage dreams.
Moments like these puts life into a strange perspective – I was once a boy then – FASTFORWARD – I am 27 years old now. But those memories of the time when I was still a dumbass boy remain as clear as yesterday. I know, it sounds clichéd. Time passes you by and all that remains of a childhood is a dusty old skateboard, sitting on a shelf. No point having it sleep on the shelf anymore. Goodbye, dear skateboard. It’s time for you to go out and create more memories – for another boy.
written by Jerry on 7 Nov 2012