Just One Ride This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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My dad was the coolest. When I was five, he was who I wanted to be. There was no one out there like him.

He had a love for motorcycles and I had a love for Barbie’s pink Corvette, but soon enough my love would change. I could hear his bike from all the way down the street; it sounded like a thousand drums being beat at once. Then he would come soaring down our driveway on his purple Harley, while I anxiously watched him from my upstairs window. I always wished that one day I would be strapped to the back of his bike, holding onto him tightly with the wind blowing in my face and the smell of the freshly cut grass tickling my nose as we rode.

Of course, I was only five, and my mother would have gone crazy if she had seen me on the back of his bike. “It’s not safe for a little girl, Frank, that’s why!” was always her response when he would say, “C’mon, just one ride, she’ll love it. I’ll be careful, I swear.” And I certainly would have loved it. I prayed and prayed that one day she would let me have a ride. But she never gave in, so instead I’d sit up in my room watching him take off into the night on his beautiful bike.

Then it happened – I got my chance. I was allowed to ride the bike. Well, that’s what Dad told me. He said Mommy didn’t mind, but I probably shouldn’t tell her, and that it would be our little secret. I grabbed the helmet, threw it on and was ready to take off into the sunset. He began to rev the engine and it sent chills up my spine. My dream had finally come true. I was thinking of nothing but how amazing it felt to be on the back of my dad’s bike. That night, I felt as though I was on top of the world.

Then one night, my parents went out for dinner. My mom was petrified of the bike, so instead they took the car. As they were leaving, I jumped on Dad’s back and gave him a giant bear hug. He said good-bye, I love you and his famous,“Be good.”

Later that night, I knew something was wrong. I woke up around 3:15 a.m. and went into my parents’ room so I could sleep with them, but they weren’t there. I felt a wave of panic sweep throughout my body as I searched the house. I was in the middle of an anxiety attack.

Then the worst news I had ever heard hit me. There I was, a child standing in the kitchen while three of my aunts tried to explain to me that Mommy was sick and Daddy wouldn’t be coming home, not today or any day. They explained that there had been a terrible accident and Daddy was up in heaven. I just stared at them, motionless, not knowing what to say.

All I wanted to do was jump on his bike in the driveway and ride away, far away. Tears didn’t come; I gazed into the swollen and bloodshot eyes of my aunts without expression. I felt lost, and wondered if I’d ever be found. I wanted him back so we could ride again, so I could see the passion in his eyes just once more as we took off on his love – his bike.

So now, at 17, I hold a secret in my heart. I look back and realize how wonderful Dad was and what a shame it is that I only had a chance to be with him for five years. Every time I see a motorcycle fly by me into the night, I think of him. And I know that he is somewhere where he can ride his bike day and night, waiting for me to join him so that we may take off into the night together, once more.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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