By my father's definition, I am insane.
By Jeremy Riegel's, I am sensitive.
By any number of various others, I am disposable.
Today I sank to a level and rose to a height that I ne'er before conceived possible.
My friends, today I moved mountains.
Today, for the first time in nearly 20 years, I reverted to a time before I was broken.
And the harbinger of my time-traveling adventure...the winged Pegasus on which I climbed...the purveyor of my starved soul's Houdini feat...was a borrowed SR Suntour Hotrock.
That's right. Today I RODE A BIKE.
It's no Knights Templar secret that, in many ways, I've clung to the past like Reynolds wrap to a casserole dish, desperately trying to relive, reconfigure, retry, redo and outdo my former me.
The results, like the cellophane wrap, have proven difficult to navigate, impossible to manage, and frustrating to the point of exhaustion.
So recently, I have given up said activity. The past, while vivid to me, is unattainable, and, like grabbing for a 10 foot up snack with a 2 foot up stepladder, I simply ain't got the reach to get me there.
But in letting go of the bad aspects of the past, it seems I have made a blunder in the present: namely that, having a grasp on the past provides peace of mind in the present, assuming of course that in the presence of the present one is recalling the positives of the past.
Follow that? *wink*
Alliteration and allegory aside, (note the differing uses of the word "present" and its derivatives) I'm basically saying that when you put your past behind you, you lose a lot of bad stuff. But you lose a lot of good stuff too.
When epiphanies of 2011 allowed me to bury the past out back with the hatchet, I patted down dirt on the whole damned thing. All the tears, all the tears (tears--like "present" in that, while spelled the same, two differing meanings present themselves. And yea, the use of "present" at the end of that statement was intentional. I'm just that fucking brilliant. Or insane. Or sensitive. Or disposable.) all the war wounds and battle scars...all were buried. But so were the smiles.
This bike is too big for me. When on it, I cannot touch the ground with my feet. Which was perfect, really.
Legs dangling, I was shaky at first, wobbling back and forth as I did when the experience was new. I couldn't remember what the numbers on the handle bars meant. I almost fell over when attempting to change gears. I took a turn like the world's eldest nursing home patient and still managed to flail about on the wrong side of the road. But when I got going, I remembered the sensation that came with the wind in my hair. And I was transported.
I grew up in a neighborhood marked by four things: an abundance of trees, a lake, my best friend Stephanie's house, and hills. Lots of them. It was in this shady, lake-loving, friend-building place that I learned to ride my first two-wheel bicycle. It was called a North Star (I know because I used to make up commercials for it in my family room. And, lest you ask, yes, I still remember the jingle I came up with for the commercial. The ending? "North Star." Said with the tone, inflection and whispery cheese of "Soul Glow" in "Coming To America." Try it. I know you want to.) I got it for Christmas, and it had a banana seat and purple accents. I went everywhere on that bike.
Before cars or boyfriends or high school dances--right around the time I used to choreograph routines to Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls" on a deserted lot on my street--my bike was my ticket to freedom from my mini-world that, aside from unfettered (if unfostered) imagination, offered me none. I used to fly on that bicycle. Up hills. Down hills. No brakes.
Never any brakes.
My friend Kelli always used her breaks.
She fell once. And got Staph infection from the cuts.
I wonder whatever happened to her...
I wonder whatever happened to me...
There was once a time I was really good at this--flying at incomparable speeds, fearing nothing but the temporary slow of the cul de sac.
Where is that girl? Did I bury her with the hatchet? Or did she suffocate long before?
My legs are tight from pedaling. And my crotch hurts. Seems that when you're an adult they no longer outfit you with a banana seat. Shame really. It was a leisurely seat on which to escape the tears...and tears...
A couple of laps and a couple of flights later, I am tired. Getting a bike around the block is difficult, and getting it up two flights of stairs will take one to the borderline of a psychotic break.
Which brings me back to my beginning. Maybe I am crazy. Or sensitive. Or disposable.
Maybe I am a break-neck speed North Star banana seat rider with wind in my hair and Prince in my ear to me.
In truth, there are many times I don't know who in the hell I am.
The only thing I do know for sure is that I want to talk to the girl flying down the hills of Lake Forrest subdivision.
She's too swift to catch though. No fear in that one.
She says she is going to grow up to be a famous actress. And famous novelist. She practices her acceptance speeches for awards shows and appearances on Oprah. She choreographs dances because she knows Broadway will want her input when putting on its next smash hit. She pedals around on a North Star. No brakes. Never any brakes.