I creep, a snail
carrying his house
upon his back,
up the steep incline.
With sheer determination I pump
I soar with the birds,
wheels spinning wildly,
peddles pumping franticly,
adrenaline rushing through my metal frame.
The wind roars past, drowning
out the sheer squeal of delight from my rider,
bringing on its tail
a cacophony of all the scents of spring.
Ever since I first learned how to remain semi balanced I have loved riding my bike. My brothers and I would ride for hours in the Pennsylvania country. I had really short hair then, shorter than I do now, and was often mistaken for a boy, but that never bothered me. There were so bmx trails near town that we enjoyed biking on and seeing how much air we could get off the jumps on just a little ‘ole bike.
I would bike into town frequently too, the 2 mile ride was nothing, and I usually had some pocket change in my pocket for some Bubbalicious Bubblgeum. The ride was safe, and it didn’t seem like we had to worry as much about crazies then as we do now. There was this one boy though – one of the biggest bullies I ever faced in my childhood…
“Hey! You can’t pass by here,” a fierce voice called as I watched a freckled arm shoot out and grabbed hold of my handle bar, jolting me to a halt. It was all I could do not to crash completely. Filled with dread I staggered on my feet and eyed the boy trying to concentrate on one of the many freckles splayed across his nose.
“Leave me alone, I can go where I want,” my voice didn’t sound nearly as tough as I wanted it too and I despised how whiny it sounded in my ears.
The boy still hadn’t let go of my bike. He ran his free hand through his red hair, “You have to pay a toll.”
“No I don’t!” I squeaked. I was angry, and scared. I saw him eyeing my brand-new watch Mom had given me for my birthday.
“You can’t leave until you give me you watch,” he growled, lunging for my wrist and breaking the clasp free. He hung it in the air exultantly out of my reach . “Thanks,” he laughed as he headed toward his home.
I fought back the white hot tears that threatened, there was no way I was going to let that jerk see me cry. I couldn’t hold the flood for long as I turned back home, my trek for the coveted Bubbalicious Bubblegum forgotten.
My brother (Paul – yeah I know, wiered, my huby’s name is Paul too) was the first one I came across, and before lone I found myself pouring out my broken heart to him about the nasty bully. The boy wasn’t just a bully to me, but to most kids, and he was my brother’s age too – 2 1/2 years older than me. To say my brother was angry was an understatement.
“I’ve got a plan,” he whispered in my ear. “I want you to get back on your bike and ride down there….”
I was more shaky on the second trip as I pedalled along, half hoping the bully would emerged, and half dreading it. I rounded the corner and sure enough the was the boy, standing with his arms crossed. Once again he reached his hand out and jerked my bike to a halt. He didn’t get to far though, for flying around the bend hot on my trail was my big brother. I don’t know that I have ever seen anyone execute such a spectacular bike to ground while in motion jump as he did. I watched his bike continue past me before it fell to the ground.
Paul hauled the boy into the nearby bushes, and I didn’t witness the exchange. But I heard words, and knew that Paul punched him. A minute or two later my brother came out triumphantly carrying my brand new watch, as the boy slunk back to his house.
I never had a run-in with that boy again – and I never forgot the day one of my big brothers became my hero.