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The Reunion

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So picture this, right? I'm pedaling. And pedaling. Right up, left down, right up, left down. Going through the motions. Slam the brake—skid, slide, splash. A horn blares, no, cries out, in frustration.

“What are you doing, kid,” it shouts. “You want to be killed?”

White noise.

So picture this, right? I'm pedaling, soppy from head to the toes poking out of my flip flops. Fitting name, the way they're dangling about—right up, left down—above me the clouds pour, the light dances. I glimpse the asphalt blurring beneath my feet, too fast for this neck of the woods. Slam the brake, kid, for God's sake the light's red. Someone shows me the way to heaven and the angels, but I don't care.

I just need this f***ing tie.

It all kind of bleeds together, the pedaling, the skidding, the weight of the water on this wool sweater and the weight of more than words can convey. Staring at the tie rack, hardwood pools forming at my ankles. Grey, he wouldn't have wanted me to wear black. Grey like the ride here, like the echoes of the white noise. It's perfect.

So picture this, right? I'm pedaling. Looks like I'll make it to this black tie affair intact. The sky has shown me some mercy—are those birds chirping? Simple curb hop, go through the motions. Right up—SNAP—left down, left down, left down. I glimpse the asphalt blurring red beneath my feet, and heave my foot out of my gear. I speak for the first time in hours.

I cry out in a rage and shatter the white noise. The glass cracks as it sprays all over the street.

“It's not too bad,” that's the shock talking, of course. “Pedal it off. Man up.”

R-Ri-Right up. Left down. Half a block before collapsing on the sidewalk, ankle in hand. Something about the beauty of it all, the blood creeping across the concrete into the rain water. Wondering where the blood ends and the water begins—is this what being one with nature is all about?

They walk by, strangers with familiar faces. Lost in their own white noise—who can blame them? The good samaritan whistles.

“Holy s***,” he sighs. “You're bleeding pretty badly.”

“I just want a cigarette.”

“I'm calling an ambu-”

“No! Please, my friend's wake is today. I have to be there, please. He needs me there.”

So picture this, right? I'm sitting, no cigarette in hand, waiting for the howls of an ambulance. White noise. Suddenly, cue hospital smells. Bright lights, the battered coughs and whimpering bandages. Eyes shut tight as the mangled remains of my toes are being pricked and pried. A stitch helps the nail stay in place and the medicine go down.

I miss the wake. Can't walk.

So picture this, right? I'm hobbling. Left up, right drag. The friction shoots through my foot like electricity, every nerve ending is on fire. I lean on my cane for support, the black ties watch my journey. Too proud for a shoulder to lean on, my grey tie sways as I go. I reach his casket, we say our hellos, our how do you do's.

“Your grey tie, it's beautiful,” he whispers sweetly, eyelids resting so gently. “You shouldn't have gone through all the trouble.”

“What's a little blood between friends?” I say a loud to no one. The white noise fades as he speaks one last time. Left up, right drag.

“Promise you won't forget me,” he sounds almost hurt by the notion. Like a diluted sense of despair.

“I promise, Finoy.”




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