July 19, 2017
By , Tampa, FL

       I slam the door loudly and begin to jog over to the garage; throwing it open and grabbing my bike and helmet from inside. I snap the helmet on, throw my leg over the seat, and I’m just about to take off down the yard and into the street when I clench my blistered hands around the handlebars. I can swear they weren’t this tattered yesterday, or the day before that; I guess that’s what happens after a couple or more years of biking daily. The paint has also softened and begun to peel from the day I had received it. I remember my dad telling me to wait in the living room while he would get my “big gift” from outside, and when he wheeled the bike in: I lost it. While I was already bursting from the excitement of turning six, this sent me over the edge. It was painted a bright neon green and had dark black handlebars with matching tires, and a seat. My father was a particularly tall man, so he always had to bend down to pick me up or face me; I ran to him and he bent down to engulf me in his tattooed arms. I had never been happier. I had wanted my own bike since I was three. My mom had her old pink bike in the garage, and I remember finding my love for biking with that old bike but I hated it. My parents asked why and I said because “It’s too sparkly, and too pink.” And this always seemed to set my mom off; I never understood why. Once when I was four, I left my parents in the kitchen as I went outside, took a pair of scissors, and cut the ribbons as short as I could; the ribbons were just so purple and pink and bright, plus they would snap my hands like whips on horses when I would go fast. My mom found me, and as I turned around with a pair of scissors in one hand and ribbons in the other she let out a blood curdling scream. She ran towards me, and pushed me away from the bike. Luckily my father was close behind her and caught me before my face contacted the hard concreate. I turned around to see my mother kneeling down towards the bike; she was shaking uncontrollably and stroking the bike as if it was a wounded animal. My father quickly picked me up, carried me in the house, set me on my bed, and as he begun to leave the room I asked if mom was okay. He looked back at me and I’ll never forget the look that flashed in his eyes: Fear and empathy; before I could read too much into it thought he said she would be fine and closed the door behind him. I sat on my bed for two hours, just starring down at the ribbons and scissors in my hands until my dad opened the door and we had dinner together in the kitchen. I didn’t notice the third empty chair until my last bite of pot pie, and thank god I was smart enough to not ask.
I bring my wrists up to my eyes and press them into my head as hard as I can, as if that can get rid of the memories with dad. That night with the yelling, the fake apologies, the tight smiles, the truck, the crash, and the realization that my dad is gone and will be forever.  I hate this, I hate how memories connect so easily and how easy it is to think about pain. I shake my head, and speed down the yard. I can feel the wind carrying my hair away from its original position of resting on my shoulders, hitting my face, and rushing past me. My legs burn, but I can’t stop peddling because if I stop that means this moment will be over, and I’ll have to think about things other than biking. All I have to think about is what is in front of me; nothing, nothing, nothing, truck. I slam on my brakes, but because of my exhilarating speed while my front tire skids to a halt my back tire is picked up from the ground; I’m thrown into the car door head first. I fall flat on the ground as my bike rolls who knows where, and every bone in my body aches. The truck stops, and I only know because my head wasn’t run over. My head feels fuzzy and I can’t think straight; I’ve also never realized how bright and harsh the sun shines down. I want to start laughing, as if someone just told a joke, but when I begin to smile I feel the need to begin crying. Then, there is a sweet relief from the bright light as a face appears over mine. It takes a moment for my eyes to focus on the face but when they do I realize that it’s a girl. A really pretty girl. The girl has shoulder length black hair, dark skin, and full lips that are moving but I can’t hear anything she is saying. I realize I am most likely starring up at her like an idiot and my tongue finally allows me to speak, but all I can let out is a groggy “What?”
“I’m so sorry, here you need to lie down.” She begins to lean down towards me.
“I’m already laying down though.” My comment makes her stop, and she turns her face towards mine to give me a blank stare. I smile up at her and try to laugh, but it sends a shooting pain all throughout my chest. I see a shy smile forming on her face, but when I grunt from the pain her former expression of fear is back. She wraps an arm around my waist and slowly lifts me up. When I’m on my feet I almost stumble forward into a bush but she moves in front of me, grabbing my free hand to try and steady me. My head feels like it’s spinning around a mile a minute and my neck has the support of a loose rubber band. She bends down a bit to make eye contact with me. I notice, her eyes are emerald green. When she realizes our eyes have connected she says something and nods her head slowly towards me, and I nod my head too as I let myself relax into her pretty eyes. Before I know it though, the girl has picked me up bridal style and my head is curled into her neck. I feel vibrations against my face, and she says something about me being "quite the jokester", but all I can focus on are how warm her hands are and how she gives off the aroma of a bakery. 

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