Janice couldn’t believe it. She was actually here. She breathed it all in. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. She looked at the giant screen hanging from the ceiling of the arena.
The Olympic Pairs Figure Skating Final.
“Go on, sit down,” Larry said.
“I’m just trying to take it all in, will you give me a minute?” said Janice, “Jeez.”
“Do you mind if I get by you so I can sit down? My feet hurt.”
“Watch out, you’re catching my pendant on your jacket. I bought it special, just for today.” She held her ice skate-shaped pendant up to look at it against the glint of the ice. She couldn’t help but grin as she breathed warm air onto it and gave it a polish on her denim top. She swished her head from side to side, showing off her matching ice skate earrings, hoping Larry would notice them and compliment her. He didn’t.
“I can’t believe Savchenko and Szolkowy are about to skate right out in front of me,” said Janice.
“Sava-who?” said Larry.
“Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, only the double pairs figure-skating world champions and frontrunners for the gold.”
Larry raised one eyebrow and scrunched his forehead.
“They’re from Germany, and I just know they’re going to– never mind.”
“No, tell me. I’d like to know everything there is to know about figure skating. Tell me, Janice, whatdya call it when they fall on their asses? I hope there’s a lotta that tonight, it’ll shake things up a little.”
“Larry, I just thought it would be nice if–”
“Why couldn’t you have won tickets to speed skating or the skeleton? Or better yet, ice hockey. Instead we’re here, about to watch a bunch of fairies in golden leotards prancing around on ice. Why couldn’t you have just brought Diane–?”
“I wish I would have brought Diane, Larry. If you don’t want to be here, just go, ‘cause I don’t want or need your negativity around me. I’m glad I didn’t win tickets for speed skating or skeleton or ice hockey because I FUCKING LOVE FIGURE SKATING.” She suddenly became aware of all the eyes on her. She didn’t think she had ever had so many people from so many different countries all judging her at once. Janice tried forced a giggle, which came out as more of a growl, and sunk back down into her chair, wishing she could just keep sinking and fold up into it. She looked down and fingered her ice skate pendant.
“I’m sorry, you’re right,” said Larry, “How can I make it up to you?”
Janice looked straight ahead at the ice rink. He couldn’t.
“Look. How ‘bout we make a little bet.”
Janice’s ears pricked up. There were three things she could never resist: a bet, a bargain, and Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra.
“If you’re so sure about this Sabachino–”
“Savchenko and Szolkowy.”
“How ‘bout this: if they lose you have to cook me dinner when we get home.”
“How’s that different from any other night?”
“Then you let me give you one on the kitchen table.”
“And if they win?”
“I’ll take you out for a nice fancy dinner at T.G.I. Fridays.”
The lights dimmed and Janice took the opportunity to adjust her hair and straighten her top– this was the kind of event where you could end up on TV, after all.
“Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany,” the announcer said.
This was it. Savchenko and Szolkowy skated to the spotlight in the centre of the ice rink and took their opening positions. During the few seconds the pair held their pose, Janice felt as though the rest of the world disappeared and it was just her and Savchenko and Szolkowy.
Send In the Clowns began to play, and Janice thought she might actually have a heart attack from the excitement as the skaters began their routine. Janice gasped and grabbed Larry’s arm, “Oh my god, did you see that high-flying triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination? They nailed it.” She glanced at Larry. He wasn’t impressed. Janice could hardly breathe as the pair swished and danced their way across the ice.
“I have to admit, they do have a lot of skill,” said Larry.
“Here it comes… and, yes. The throw triple flip. They’ve got it in the bag now.” Janice breathed a little easier and thought about what she was going to order at T.G.I. Friday’s. Maybe the baby back ribs. She looked down at her pendant and looked back up just in time to see the skaters launch into a double axel.
“No!” said Janice, jumping to her feet as Szolkowy fell hard on his elbow and slid across the ice.
Larry looked at Janice and smiled, showing off his grey tooth.
“So what do you want for dinner?” she asked. But she already knew what she was going to make him.