Fixation

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Tyler is in front of me on his blue and yellow fixie bike, a slender-bodied invention that all the boys at school are fixated on these days, among other toys such as Tech Decks and PlayStation 3’s. We are chatting in friendly and polite conversation, each heading to our individual homes. He faces forward, raising his voice above the humdrum noise of blurred cars whizzing on the road beside us, but periodically turns around so that I see his face. I have never biked home with him before, as my neighborhood is past his, so it is the first time that I notice he has the type of face that smiles when he talks and the hair that tousles in the wind to produce an unkempt mess of browns.

We continue our pleasant pace and chatter down the sidewalk until we reach the entrance into his community, which I often use as a shortcut to get to my own. I follow him, leaving the noise and shifting colors of cars behind me.

He suddenly turns around and yells, “Come on!”

Our steady pace breaks and becomes forgotten. I see his black Nike shoes peddling faster and consequently feel my feet doing the same, a pulsating motion, rhythmic and constant. I quickly understand that an unspoken challenge has manifested itself in the distance between us, and I develop an underlying, but powerful desire to accept. His unfair advantage from starting out in front of me and being a boy beginning puberty has put him in the lead, and I shift the gear to “1” and peddle whole-heartedly to close in the space. All reason and control leaves me and blows away in the dust, replaced with an unmatched ambition. This ambition feels new in my soul, like an unclear, but completely tangible motivation tugging me forward. My eyes are focused on the blue and yellow, and my body on doing anything to get closer.

We are weaving in and out of trees, parking lots, and playgrounds, and I feel next to invincible. I bike on higher curbs than I normally would, and I take sharper turns than ever before. People and cars serve as obstacles, but I don’t care, or fully notice them. Tyler and I are on separate paths, but a similar goal seems to put us on the same plane, or at least state of mind. We have developed something in common. My heart pounding to the point of a slight soreness, I determinedly lower my chest to my handlebars, pedal away, and cut in hard, so that we are now racing adjacent to each other. I care about nothing but what is in front of me and beside me. This lasts for an instant, before he has made his way into the lead and become out of reach once again.

Before I realize it, we have reached the end of the neighborhood and he is laughing. Instinct tells me to laugh too, so I do.

“See ya, J. Good try,” I hear him say, and I retort a goodbye back. He breaks off and disappears down the street. I slow down, my heart following behind, and become suddenly aware of my surroundings and an utter exhaustion in my muscles. I am thoroughly out of breath; not just in the superficial manner from excessive biking, but an obscure place in a hidden cavern of my body seems to have been punctured with air that is hopelessly seeping out. I feel faintly confused as to why I had just pedaled so hard and resorted to such recklessness, but then can’t find an answer and head home.





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