Settling into the back right passenger seat, the boy reached for his seatbelt when his father looked at him. “Are you in okay?” he asked, pausing before he closed the door.
The boy pressed his hands against the seat and readjusted himself, straightening out his ripped jeans. “Yep, all good.”
“Awesome. Buckle up good, kiddo,” his dad instructed before slamming the old car door. The boy buckled himself in and pulled the seatbelt tight to stay secure, then he glanced out the window, awaiting the long car ride as his father loaded the trunk.
His eyes fell to the sidewalk and he spotted the skateboarder, clasping his helmet under his chin and preparing his gear for the game.
The father climbed into the front set and slammed the door tight. The car started up on the third try, and the boy heard the wheels of the skateboard hit the sidewalk, the skater moving his board back and forth in anticipation. The transmission shifted from park to drive, and the skater looked at the boy and gave him a thumbs up and a grin. The boy returned the gesture twofold, and the skater was off the moment his father hit the gas.
Pushing as fast as he could, he raced twenty-five down the sidewalk, keeping up with the car, like always. His long skater hair flowed behind him in that cool, skater fashion. He swerved off and on the sidewalk by driveways and corner ramps, jumping whenever he went up, and ducking whenever he went down, collecting invisible gold coins that only the boy could see. The skater grinded on railings and across retaining walls, performing one-eighties when he jumped off to the sidewalk.
The boy watched skater dodge pedestrians and mailmen, and throw bones at pursuing dogs, collected from knocked over trash cans, all the while with his left thumb up in the boy’s direction, letting him know that one day he could be as cool as the skater.
One day, he would weave on and off sidewalks, dodge couples coming his way, and collect invisible goin coins.
“Yeah, Matty?” His father looked at him through the review mirror, and the skateboarder faded to the back of the boy’s imagination as he locked eyes with the older man.
“If the surgery is successful, can I have a skateboard for Christmas?” he asked.
The father smiled, and on the corner of his eye, the boy could almost see a tear form.
“Matty,” his father spoke, “If this surgery fixes your paraplegia, you’re not waiting until Christmas to get a skateboard.”
The boy smiled, then looked back outside as the imaginary skateboarder continued his journey, collecting coins and performing tricks to gain points.
Soon, the boy would be able to walk for the first time. Then, he would run for the first time, and then he would skateboard for the rest of his life.