At age four, I learned how to ride a bike for the first time. With training wheels, it took me months to master being able to ride a bike. But, the idea of taking the training wheels off? That made my tiny, four-year-old heart pound with fear. It took me two more years to finally take those pesky, stabilizing training wheels off. However, my dad’s calloused, still hands held me steady until I felt ready for him to let go. Or at least he let me think I had the control. He said, “One… Two… Three!” But he would rush the “three” while pushing me out of his safe grasp. The wind blew my short dark brown hair and burned my eyes dry. I would start feeling comfortable on the two-wheeled bike and would start to peddle, although it did nothing but cause my bike to become wobbly, like a Spinning Top. Then, I would fall over with a thump, scrape my knees and elbows, and cry.
My dad would tell me, “ Oh brush it off, you big baby!”
I would respond with, “I’M NOT A BIG BABY! I’M SSS-IX!”
We would repeat this pattern for weeks, after weeks, until I eventually grasped the concept of riding my bike without help. However, I could only ride my bike for a few seconds before looking like a Spinning Top and falling over. My hands, knees, elbows and eyes were dry from all the falling and crying. I needed to continue going, I needed to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels.
Due to an illness, we skipped day 22, 34 and 55, because Dad got sick often. The doctors told my mommy he had something called Glomerulonephritis. I thought it made him glow in the dark, and that’s why we couldn’t ride our bikes at night. On the 56th day after we took the training wheels off, I beat my personal record of 25 seconds on my bike.
“I’m not ready daddy!” My six-year-old voice shrieked over the howling wind.
“I’m going to let go in Three…”
My father’s hand released from my bike and I was off on my own. I had felt something I’ve never felt before-- independence. The world was a green, blue and tan blur as I passed the tall, green giants that blew in the wind and the egg-shell colored houses. I was blasting down the hill at what seemed to be 100 miles per hour. The crisp summer air blew my hair around my face and into my mouth. This caused my tiny heart to beat uncontrollably but, I still felt invincible. I felt as fast as the airplanes that flew miles and miles above my tiny head. My knuckles, white from gripping the handle bars, loosened and my legs unstiffened. I felt the most comfortable I have ever been on my bike and I started to peddle, trying to accelerate. I enjoyed the feeling of my hair whipping my face, and the good, burning feeling in my eyes.
“Watch o…” someone shouted from behind me. Their voice was muffled by the wind and I didn’t care, I felt alive. Suddenly, my handlebars began to wobble more than I could control, and caused my body to become stiff with fear. My heartbeat began to race faster than a racecar and my breaths became shorter than I was. The energy in the air turned into an evil sensation, like Halloween. My pupils became large as I came across something in the road.
I flew off the front of my bike and tried to catch myself with my arm but instead, it bent backwards and I heard a loud crack. I skid across the hot, black asphalt, and had deep scrapes on my hands, elbows, and legs. It had looked like I had been in a car crash. I screamed out in pain and looked down. My tiny right arm was twisted, like the branch I hit, and the bone was sticking out of my shoulder. The blood-stained my pale pink shirt a crimson red.
My dad ran to me and rushed me to the hospital to get the attention I needed right away..
Six years later
“We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of David Ronalds, whose short life was taken by Glomerulonephritis. Glomerulonephritis is a form of kidney disease that causes the blood…”
I started to ignore the Pastor. I was in shock because of the previous events that have happened over the past four days.
Four days ago, Dad and I were riding our bikes, he was helping me train for the 5k bike race I was going to compete in. We rode for three hours, and then ate at our favorite restaurant, Bob’s Folk Grill.
Three days ago, Dad began to cough a little bit while he was riding with me. He had complained of some stomach and back pains. But, he brushed them off because he was becoming old.
Two days ago, Dad was tired and told me he didn’t want to go out.
“It’s ok dad.”
One day ago, I found dad on the ground of the garage, with no heartbeat, or breaths coming out of him. I stood there for a long time, wondering when he’d wake up. My mom found us and she began to scream.
That day was the first day I felt numb to the world. I felt numb for another five years before I finally was comfortable with the concept of life.
5 years later
I place my thin black road tire up to the Starting Line. I glance around to see the crowd bundled up in warm clothes, blankets and huddling with each other. There are two hundred and seven other competitors all wanting the same thing I did, fame, glory and a championship title. I trained for so long to win this championship. My dad has been by my side since the beginning and I know he’s proud of me no matter what. Hopefully, he’ll be watching me from his star, cheering me on, because I’m going to need it.
“Bikers! Are you ready?” The announcer's voice blared through the speakers.
All the bikers nervously cheered, ready to start the race. I took a deep breath and gripped my handlebars. I’m just as worried as I was when I first learned how to ride my bike. Hopefully this time I won’t crash and break my upper arm.
All the racers blasted out of the starting zone, all with one hope, to win first place.