Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I want to ride my bicycle.

Last night, my bicycle was abducted. My precious, innocent, little yellow bicycle. Purchased in Japan four years ago for the paltry sum of $75, I couldn't bear to end our love affair after a year of cruising abroad, so I coughed up $300 more to bring her back to the States. And she's been a member of our family ever since.

Beatrix was her name.

I exited my apartment this morning to find only this.

A single knot of broken chain.

So distraught was I, I climbed right back upstairs and right back into bed.

She was one of my most prized and sentimental possessions, a steel pile of idyllic foldable imperfection. Her brakes went WHEEEEE in the rain. Her kickstand was broken and needed restraining with a pink rubberband, lest it go CLACK CLACK CLACK with every left-hand veer, and pedestrians holler after me "Your kickstand's down, bro!" as I clack merrily away. The 'd' was mistakenly rendered a 'b' in her Old English decal. It read Easy Riber.

We played together. (Hey Bea! Remember that time we practiced wheelies in the parking lot while listening to Wu Tang? We were waiting for Sherry to finish getting ready so we could go to Tokyo Disneyland.)

We impressed our peers together. (Hey Bea! Remember that time back in Numazu when we pulled up in front of the convenience store to meet up with all the other foreigners, and everyone said Oooh cool bike? Except that jerk who said Your kickstand's down, bro.)

We had each other's backs. (Hey Bea! Remember that time we were coasting to a stop on the sidewalk to chain you up outside the video store, and that guy goes You got the whole street for that shit. And I go Relax man, I'm chaining up my bike. And he stopped and said Do it, I wanna see you, and then waited for me to do it. And we had a lengthy stare down, and I said You're actually going to stand there to make sure I chain up my bike, you have nothing better to do on a Friday? And he stood there like a big dumb walrus, and I said curse words at him and insulted his intelligence and appearance as I walked into the video store, and he said What? and I said You heard me, jackass. Remember that? You totally backed me up then.)

And remember the countless times we rode along the Kano River or the East River listening to Bob Marley or ThinkTwice or Red Bacteria Vaccuum? And everything was right and perfect, all pieces in place?
Yeah, I remember that too.


Inconsolable, I arrived at work this morning and stood looking out at Manhattan from the 22nd floor, sipping coffee, all cried out. Somewhere among those building tops, among those honking cabs and street meat carts and dancing Newsies is my Beatrix.

Or maybe she's no longer even in the city, smuggled under moonlight into a cargo container and silently shipped to more sinister shores. Forced at gunpoint to mine diamonds in Sierra Leone. Another unwilling soul lost to the Armenian sex trade. Held hostage in the basement of the Alamo.

Oh, Beatrix. I shudder to think of your fate.

On the train Sherry asked, "Are you going to get a new bike?" "You callous animal," I said. "She isn't even cold yet." And then my buddy, Mike, asked me the same thing, to which I responded in the same way. He said, "She's not dead, just in the hands of another man."

How dare you, sir.

But in my heart I know I will one day ride another. The YMCA pool is simply too far to walk. And when that distant day comes when I am whole enough to once again mount a padded seat, clutch a firm pair of handlebars in my sweaty palms and peddle like I've never peddled before, love like I've never lost, I assure you that one'll be little and yellow too.

But next time she'll have a banana seat.

And lowrider handlebars.

Ooooh just like this one here!

 Squeal! What a beauty!

But she simply won't be you.         

     I miss you, Bea.



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