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Compulsory Figures

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One of the things Nancy loves about living with Giselle is seeing Giselle's delight at things Nancy has known all her life. Everything from chess players in the park ("Nancy, what is this game? Will you teach me how to play?") to schools ("Imagine how wonderful it must be for all the children to learn together!") excites her, and through Giselle's eyes, Nancy finds herself falling in love with the city all over again.

This particular Saturday, Nancy is cleaning her room. Giselle always offers to help, and Nancy accepted her help once...but honestly, after watching pigeons and cockroaches make her bed, she wanted to strip all the sheets and blankets off and bleach them and the bed thoroughly rather than sleep in it. So although Giselle and her friends are always willing, Nancy saves their help for tasks she finds dirty and unpleasant, like cleaning the bathroom. (The cockroaches don't seem to mind.)

"Nancy?" Giselle calls from the living room. "What is this?"

Nancy tucks the lock of hair that has escaped from her ponytail behind her ear and goes into the living room, where Giselle is watching television. Two ice dancers have just entered the rink, and are waiting to begin their routine.

"That's figure skating," Nancy says. "Um...the world championships maybe? I'm not sure."

"Their clothes are beautiful," Giselle says. "So sparkly." Then she lets out a gasp, because the skaters have begun moving together, graceful and elegant, completing each other's movements. "Look at them!"

Nancy takes a seat on the couch beside Giselle. "They're good."

"Good doesn't begin to describe it," Giselle says breathlessly. "Imagine being able to do that...knowing every moment of what your partner will do, and adding your own gifts too."

"We do that," Nancy says. "Not that that, but I mean...when we're sewing together..."

"Oh yes," Giselle agrees, giving Nancy one of her brilliant smiles. Even now, Giselle's smiles make Nancy's breath catch.

Nancy still feels as though she's figuring out the terms of their physical closeness. Giselle gives her affection freely and eagerly, catching Nancy's arm as they walk together or hugging Nancy when she is delighted by something. Nancy has never exactly been free of inhibitions, and still feels as though she needs to ask before she touches Giselle sometimes. This is one of those times.

"Can I..." Nancy gestures vaguely, holding one arm out to demonstrate that she'd like to be closer to Giselle.

Giselle understands, and moves into Nancy's embrace with a soft giggle. "Of course!" She sighs happily once they're nestled together, and although Nancy doesn't sigh, she can feel some of the tension in her shoulders abating. Giselle is basically the antidote to stress.

"You know, there are places to go skating in the city," Nancy says.

"Are there?" Giselle looks utterly delighted.

"Sure! There are rinks where you can rent skates, and places to take lessons if you want to learn fancy stuff like spinning." Nancy feels a smile spread across her face as an idea occurs to her that she knows Giselle will love. "And it's the right season to go skating at the Rink at Rockefeller Center."

"Rockefeller...? We walked there, didn't we? Where the golden statues are, and the giant beautiful tree?" Giselle had lived in a forest; of course she had noticed the Christmas tree, and had wanted to know how it was glowing. Nancy had managed to muddle through an explanation of LED lights.

Nancy nods. "There's an ice rink there that's open from December to April. It gets pretty crowded, so I'm not sure we should start there...but once you've sort of learned the basics, we could go whenever you want."

Giselle gives Nancy an impulsive peck on the cheek. "I'd love to. Thank you." She rests her head on Nancy's shoulder. "Have you skated before? Is it fun?"

Nancy rests her head against Giselle's. "It is, once you get used to it." Nancy hasn't done it enough to get very used to it, but if she and Giselle go often enough, she'll have to get better at it. "And if you like watching other people skate, the Olympics are coming up."

"What are Olympics?" Giselle sounds intrigued.

"The Olympics is this big sports competition--there are all kinds of different sports, and people come from all over the world to compete."

"Is there figure skating?"

"Almost constantly," Nancy says with a grin.

"Oh, I think I like the Olympics!" Giselle snuggles closer to Nancy. "Maybe we can watch together."

Nancy still hasn't gotten used to Giselle loving to spend time with her. She hopes she never takes it for granted.

"Of course we can," she says warmly, holding Giselle close and waiting for the next skaters to begin.