Bye Bye Bicycle
At a 7-o’clock meeting this morning, a word popped into my train-wreck of thoughts: bicycle. The bane of my existence. My uttermost shame. But what a beautifully narrative word. The way these three syllables harmonize softly can only be achieved by sounding out the entirety of bicycle. Unlike bike, where the staccato takes away from this entire experience.
The first ever (and last) bicycle I have ever owned was given to me by a man I met on the train. I was a child at the time, and he was a graduate student. With my inability to stay still and innate keenness to wander, I hopped from one carriage to another until I bumped into him. He gave me candies and I probably told him about all of my imaginary friends, the only friends I had at the time.
In the next few months, he took me to game nights his college hosted. I remember nibbling on ice cream bars while glancing up as he and his friends jabbed at one another, and feeling a tinge of jealousy when he spoke with any other girls. I wasn’t living with my father at the time and saw my mother about once a week. So, it didn’t bother me when they teased him about having adopted a little girl. It gave me some sort of reassurance. Right before he graduated and moved away, he gave me the bicycle. It wasn’t anything fancy. But I loved it anyway and spent many hours of my days staring at it and pushing it around my empty living room.
When my father came to visit me one summer, I asked him to teach me how to ride the bicycle. He took me to the park, sat on a bench with the day’s newspaper in hand, and told me to go take some laps. I begrudgingly pushed the bicycle around the park while my father read his newspaper on the side, glancing up occasionally to make sure he hadn’t lost me. After a few rounds, I announced I was done and would like to go home now. I didn’t touch the bicycle after that. A few months later, my father lent it to my uncle, who then lost it and pretended it was not a big deal. When it kind of was.
A few people have attempted to teach me how to ride a bicycle since then with no success. My rationale for this is that I was traumatized somehow, somewhere in all of this. I think about the bicycle man sometimes and wonder where he might be now. And maybe fate will have me run into him one day and fall in love. Maybe when that day comes, I will finally have learned how to ride a charming little bicycle with vintage paint and a woven basket in the front for my fresh flowers and a rabbit with floppy ears.
That concludes my bicycle story, to propose to the world a possible explanation behind why I, an adult, do not know how to bike. And also just to write something after a year of not writing.