Saturday, June 11, 2011

Short story, in progress, in ode to my bike

The shelter did not call me back as promised, so I hesitantly put Emmy up for adoption yesterday evening. I really did not want to; she's rolled over glass for me without popping, gotten me to my Doctors' appointments on time (all right, sometimes a few minutes late, but she and I are in our Golden years), and helped me feel young again, my formerly Pantene-worthy coffee-colored curl coat now streaked with gray flying behind me, as we peddled along bumpy Charleston streets as eager as ten-year-old boys racing each other home down dirt roads in the country.

Though I'm sentimental, I'm old enough to realize that there's a time for enjoying, and a time for letting go, for giving. If I had given myself that advice forty-five years ago, I probably would have rolled my eyes, and perhaps even pinched, that "know-at-all," one of those tanned, gray-haired old ladies who "practices" yoga on the beach around dusk, steady eyes and relaxed lips surrounded by slight wrinkles from having smiled in admiration of her children, now all grown with lives of their own, and in awe, day in and day out, of her now-deceased husband who used to love her more deeply with each new day. And let me tell you, that time flew by, almost as quickly as it takes to burn a batch of chocolate chip cookies you turn your attention away from for a mere one minute in order to grab the cordless ringing in the bedroom. 

A young man responded in a mere hour or two after I posted the advertisement for Emmy. I was both relieved and sorry. He came today to pick her up, a smiley guy in a navy shirt and khaki shorts, average build, with colorful tattoos on his arms. "She's a little rusty, but I guess she'll be okay," I said of the bike, hoping he'd be put off by her.

"Oh, that's alright," he responded, unperturbed. He lifted up the front, and then the back, of the bike to make sure the wheels spun. 

"If you want you can take her for a spin," I mildly suggested. He jumped on and began peddling.

"I hope I'm not taking us down some random person's driveway."

"No, don't worry, I live here," I responded. 

He got off, and I wasn't sure at that point if he wanted her or not. 

"But what about the rust? You don't think your fiance will mind?" I asked, testing his motivations.

"Oh no, not at all. We live in a quiet neighborhood in West Ashley. And besides, if we wanted a bike that looks brand new, we could have gone right over to Wal-Mart and spent just a little bit more, but we wanted something that had soul." 

"Yes, that's true," I admitted. "She's always been good to me; we've been up and down East Bay, the Market, the Battery, Hampton Park, never a problem," I said, starting to brag of my friend, neglecting to recount the more trying parts of our friendship, like when her tubes popped three times within thirteen days for no apparent reason, though she never popped again, perhaps assured that I loved her enough not to let that deter me from riding her. 

This Andrew character smiled. "Does she have a name?"

"Emmy. I'm going to miss her."

"Emmy, got it. That's her name, that's what we'll call her."

I nodded, and shook his hand. He turned her away from me and jumped on. They rolled off together down the street, as one-way traffic zoomed along beside them.

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