They gathered around the niche in the columbarium at Rosedale-Rosehill Cemetary. Nothing remarkable to see in a knot of women with canes and differing hues of grey hair until you are close enough to hear them talk.
“Cherry Jammer was the sweetest bitch on wheels. She loved the derby and she loved us like sisters.” Rosie the Elbow blew her nose into an embroidered handkerchief.
“I remember her skating the last 15 minutes of a bout with two broken wrists. And she got even tougher after she had those boys with her crazy ex.” Penny PainNPanic, or “3P,” shook her head gently.
“She rolled until she could roll no more.” Carrie Cruisenbruiser sagely intoned.
The roller derby family mourning Cherry was held together by blood, sweat, tears, spit and now, memory. Active women who were fearless in competition, they were called names by some members of their own families. They were teammates who became friends outside of the arena and never let go until infirmity and age eventually got a stronger grip.
Cherry was the first to go so the Rollers decided to meet on her birthday to celebrate her life. The plan was to meet up at her final resting niche, say a few choice words and then go out to lunch. It was possible they’d also get drunk, because why the hell not?
So here they were, their bodies soft, twisted, stooped, But their eyes and hearts fiery and fierce with humor and experience. Each learned from the rolling collective how to stand up for herself, to make her own choices, and to live with those choices. Did they all get along all the time? Does any sisterhood, wheeled or not? But they would hold on tight until the last one went down.