There had been that first pivotal moment in Grade 2 when Ms Rutley had read them the story of the magic bicycle. A bicycle that, like Lassie or Flipper, lead its boy owner to an accident scene, where the boy could bring about a dramatic rescue. From that moment on he had begged his mother for a bicycle, even though they lived in an apartment block, with a shoebox sized elevator, on the sixth floor, in the core of the city. He had hoped against hope, even when she told him that Santa was too smart to bring him a bicycle, even though the red fire truck he got instead was better than anything else he’d ever owned.
So he hadn’t ridden a bicycle until that time with Marie, his sweetheart at State U. Marie the suburban girl. One floodlit Sunday night she took him to the parking lot of the new mall near her house. The air was warm, and he felt hopeful. He was starting to grow a moustache for the first time. Marie said it looked dashing, and smiled her heartbreaker smile, and let him try her brother’s bicycle. At first he had just swung his legs lamely on each side, the way he’d seen little kids do, then gradually he managed to pump around a pedal or two. She had laughed, as she circled round him on her bicycle, the little polkadot scarf she wore flapping teasingly. He had tried for maybe an hour. He had been useless, like a flightless bird, unable to co-ordinate, un-able to keep his balance. Marie’s brother must have been much taller than him, the seat stabbed his groin raw. Later, when they had kissed he felt no passion.
Suddenly today on the January street, he remembered her for the first time in years. Whatever had happened to her, sweet Marie. Perhaps he should Google her, perhaps he should take a parks and rec cycling for beginners class.
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