The Young Writer’s Project: Molly Ziegler

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(Host) Today, as part of a continuing collaboration between VPR and the Young Writer’s Project, 16-year-old Molly Ziegler describes how she learned a lesson about trust while trying to learn to skate.

(ZIEGLER) “Winter was never my favorite season – too many inconvenient things like icy roads and frost bite make it hard for me to really enjoy it.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I never thought that snow was ugly. I just don’t like the consequences of its beauty. And as much as I don’t like winter, there’s one thing that I hate even more: Gym class. And when the two are combined, you get a whole new kind of torture: Ice skating.”

“When I was little, I always thought it would be great to learn to glide on ice. Initially, when I held my mom’s hand, it was. But when I tried to skate on my own, well, the fear of the unforgiving ice set in. If I couldn’t trust ice driving in a car, why in the world would I trust it wearing two flimsy skates? But I tried anyway, in gym class, and it was awful.”

“Then one day as I sat on the bench to lace up my skates, preparing to try again, I felt my confidence rise. “Maybe this time,” I thought, “I’ll find the coordination and grace I need.” But once on the ice, my burst of hope evaporated. I gripped the railing, my knuckles sore from the strain. Once again I was going to spend gym class in fear, and all I could think was, “Why is no one else clinging to the side like me?”

“Suddenly, I felt someone’s hands grab my waist and adrenaline rushed through me. Turning around to see who it was, I felt the surge again: It was my friend, a person I’ve liked for longer than I can remember, and, too, the last person I expected to see. He dragged me from the safety of the railing and I felt myself gliding across the ice, almost soaring, as if on a cloud.”

“My heart was racing when I suddenly realized we’re heading straight towards the railing; too fast; much too fast to stop safely. I tried to stop, but my attempt was useless. We were going to hit, when suddenly my “driver” stopped and pulled me up, just short of crashing into the wall.”

“In that brief moment, when I felt the tug on my fleece jacket, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. It was only a tiny gesture, but it reminded me that sometimes the tiniest of gestures can have a large scale effect. It reminded me that it’s great to have friends I can trust, even in gym class, even on ice.”

“I used to think that winter was dangerous, and I was too afraid to enjoy it. But now I realize that living in fear is not living at all. So I’ve learned to trust the season, and myself, because as long as I have friends, there will always be someone to tug on my jacket.”

(Host) Molly Ziegler is a Junior at Hartford High School. She lives in Hartland.

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