Today in art class we had to draw a sketch of a bike. It was spray painted baby blue with the rust peeking through in some places and propped up on a desk, one of those old-timey bikes that you'd see the paper boys riding around on in the neighborhood, tossing papers at people's doors. My teacher said we could draw any big of the bike we wanted, the handlebars, spokes, crank, anything. As we huddled around the bike with the lights off (better to see the shaded areas), I couldn't help but feel so vivid and alive. And whenever I moved my head a bit, I'd be able to see pieces of the other kid's faces as they searched the bike like I was.
Because every part of the bike made me think of something in my life. The handlebars made me think of a girl in my class who used to always sing, "I can ride my bike with no handlebars". Over, and over, and over.
The tires made me think of my brother when he was little, always burning out in the driveway, killing the rubber on them.
The peddles and spokes make me think of him.Nobody else was ever allowed to ride his bike. It was a black BMX bike that he had built himself with Christmas money and extras here and there over the course of the year. Nobody was allowed to touch it, and whenever he was done riding it, he'd run his hand over the frame carefully, checking for sand or anything that would scratch the paint.
Only once he let me ride it. Just handed it over to me, and switched bikes with me so I could ride his. I was surprised by how lightweight it actually was overall (25 pounds), yet so sturdy. I gripped the grips, the warm rubber pressing against my palms, as I rode home with him slowly and carefully, feeling all fluttery and excited inside. I felt special. Liked. It's an incredible feeling, knowing that someone would choose you over the rest of them.Back in the classroom, the darkness soaking into my skin, remembering all these things makes me happy and teary all at once. It's funny how just one object, one snapshot of your life can take you back to the place you love. Again. Again. And again.