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The Bicyclist

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Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak. Bill Page sighed to himself. Awake already? He peered through his half open eyelids squinting at the bright light. Did I hear something? Bill rolled over and glanced at the girl lying next to him. Chelsea? Rose? Mary? Who cares? Late nights spent marauding around the L.A. scene, waking up to beautiful women morning after morning, not even remembering their names. Most guys would kill to have what he had. Let ’em. He rolled out of bed and stumbled over empty bottles and used up hypodermic needles. Pigs. Sure he had bought the stuff, but he never touched it himself. He stripped down and lazily pulled himself under the singeing waters. He welcomed the slight pain, it woke him up. As he let the water wash the filth of the night out of his crevices, his mind slipped back to the sounds. Every morning. It was the only thing he could count on being consistent in his life six A.M., six P.M., every day except Sunday. He caught a glimpse of his gaunt face in the mirror. Pathetic.
He shut off the water, but stood in the shower for another few minutes before he could bring himself to clamber out from behind the glass door. He dried himself off staring at his tattooed body. He couldn’t even remember getting most of them. Only one mattered. Her name. Another life. Bill braced himself against the sink, his vision blurry. Am I still drunk? Then he realized he was crying. “Baby?” called the voice from the other room. Bill didn’t respond. He wiped the tears from his face and turned just in time to fake a smile for the beautiful girl whose name he still couldn’t remember.
“Hey…you,” he took her hands in his. “I’ve gotta go meet some people, you understand right?” She nodded. “Make yourself some breakfast, I’ll be home later.” She smiled and nodded. Bill walked past her and threw on faded jeans and a t-shirt. He slipped downstairs, trying to avoid any more questions.
He looked around him. It was his house, but it was not his home. He stared at the perfectly placed furniture and rugs, the modern sculptures and paintings other people swooned over. Idiots.
Out front he keyed open the doors to his faded, dusty Porsche, the feeling of the cool steel soothed his mind. Hey there friend. He slid into the driver’s seat, the familiar smell of the interior relaxed him. He closed his eyes, wishing he could melt into the faded leather and disappear. Starting the car, he pulled away.
Radio sucks. He looked down and flipped it off. Bill looked up and his heart flew into his throat. He screwed the wheel to the left, narrowly avoiding the child bending over to pick up a ball. His tires squealed and his car careened out of control, spinning, spinning, spinning. Finally the black blur stopped hard, slamming into the concrete divider in the middle of the road. His vision went black. Jess.
The first thing Bill noticed as he opened his eyes was the familiar sight of the rear bike tire. Then it was the smell. Above the smoke and flames, he smelled her : it smelled like times at the beach, long nights under the stars, like innocence, like home. He turned his head, and immediately regretted it. A slow long growl escape from deep inside him. “Don’t worry I’m here now babe, I got you.” Despite the shooting pain and stiffness, Bill felt warmth flood his body. He knew that voice, he knew that smell. “Jess.” Emotion overwhelmed him. She stroked his head, holding him there until the ambulance came. He tried to speak, but every time he opened his mouth either the pain from the accident or the emotion forced him to tears. Finally, he heard the sirens of the ambulance. He tried to turn and see the face he had been longing for most of his life, but everything went dark again. Jess.
“Mr. Page? Mr. Page can you hear me?” Bill opened his eyes. He stared at the whit walls, searching for a clue to where he was. Then he saw the medical equipment. The hospital. Just a dream. He closed his eyes, trying to stop the tears from escaping. He shut out the doctor’s words. He tried to shut the entire world out. Just a dream.
When he finally opened his eyes again, the doctor was gone. He was alone. Typical. He thought back to the accident. It had seemed so real, he convinced himself that the pain must have made him delusional. He remembered reading some article somewhere explaining that in times of crisis the human brain would use fragments of its imagination as a sort of anesthetic. Just imagining her all over again nearly brought him to tears. He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping no one would see the grown man sobbing like a child. Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak. His eyes shot open. He looked around the room for some explanation, then down the hallway, but he was still alone. I must be imagining again. He closed his eyes. Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak. His eyes opened and he looked down the long white corridor. He began to cry. This time he didn’t stop himself. It was the nurse’s cart. He was still alone.





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