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Papa takes me to figure-skating school.

The school has classes every day: running, choreography,

floor gymnastics, figure skating. With skates over my shoulder,

we come to the school half an hour before the classes begin.

Putting on skates is a ritual. Papa ties the laces

very tight. I am wearing a woolen dress,

tights, and a gray hat with a visor and a pompom.

“Well, how was it?” Papa asks after my first lesson.

I am covered in snow from head to toe.

“I don’t know. We were taught how to fall.

For the entire hour. Fall – get up. Fall again. Fall, fall, fall!”

“To learn how to fall,” Papa says seriously,

taking off my skates, “is an art form in itself.

Who knows, maybe it was your most important life lesson.

If you learn how to fall – nothing can harm you.

If you learn how to fall – you can be fearless.” 



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Author: Lera Auerbach