Thursday, April 26, 2012

Like Riding a Bike

Butterflies flitted around my stomach so strong I thought they might lift me off my feet and float me away. I held the shiny red and gold bike by the handlebars, trying to stay calm and hoping no one could see me shaking. Okay, I can do this. I swung my right leg over the bar and inched on my tiptoes to the seat. I didn't like hardly being able to touch the coarse black driveway when sitting on the plastic/rubber hybrid of the bike seat. I wanted to be closer to the ground so I could catch myself from falling, but I was told no.

I fiddled with my helmet, I checked and double checked the brakes and gear shifts to be sure I knew how to work them. I put one foot on a peddle and nudged it forward to get it in place, hopping along on my other foot to keep up. Finally, with no more adjustments to make, no more excuses to stall, I pushed off.

Heart in my throat, my left foot lifted from the pavement to its peddle, propelling me onward. I wobbled like a child on her first day without training wheels, a concerned, focused, terrified, determined look on my face. The end of the driveway came closer and closer: a dip to the road and a bump at the seam loomed ahead and I held on tight. I picked up speed - maybe five inches an hour - and held my breath and... I did it! Safely in the empty street, creeping elation broke free, washing over me, and I noticed the smile plastered to my face. My whole body was tense and my knuckles white, and I tried to relax but I was still shaking, though this time from excitement, not fear.

I peddled on down the block, not yet trusting myself to stop or turn. As John pulled up next to me, I called over, "They're right, it really is like riding a bike!"


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