Yesterday, I went for a bike ride. It was the early evening, when the sun is still out, but the nighttime sky is already creeping up to wrap us in its cozy dark blanket. I hadn't been on a bike since my childhood, and until yesterday I wasn't quite sure if I could still ride one well. The well is still debatable.
I pushed off on the right peddle, swaying from right to left for a bit like a child first learning to walk, but after a few moments I was zooming down my block. I looked straight ahead, the black asphalt wide open to me, ear buds in my ears with a hint of music so I could still hear cars, and relaxed. Then, I wobbled again. For the rest of the bike ride I tried to remember my form to maintain my balance. As I peddled the crunching sound of ashalt accompanied the noises of my ride.
I rode around for about 30mins, and in that time the old saying, "It's like riding a bike," came to me. I was on a bike of course I was going to remember it. I thought about my day and how I was relieved I was to almost done editing the chapbook for ForWord. I thought about my English class and how I was going to teach the students how to write essays well. I thought about the students in my Creative Writing class and how some already had a great grasp on imagery. I turned the corner and thought about how easily the car coming the opposite direction could just take me out. I held my breath until I turned another corner on an empty street and exhaled slowly, my breath now a little louder in ears as I got further along. I thought about my friend Sarah who is leaving soon and how I will miss her. I smiled because I know somewhere in her all the commotion of moving she hasn't had time to be excited, but know it will come soon. I thought about a talk I had the day before with an ex professor about writing. I thought about how I missed writing and needed to do it more and how she was right. The fall of my writing was over and I could feel spring coming as I tried to work out the beginning of a story beginning in a book store. I tried not to think about the two old tattooed vatos sitting outside their house staring at me as I peddled by. I also tried not to jump when I heard the loud deep bark of a big dog echo across the street only to follow me down the block. I thought and I thought. What street to go down next. Who lived in that house that looked emptied out and hollow. I imagined they were as sad as the house and sat each night watching shows like Honey Boo Boo and The Bachelor.
As the sky darkened, I started to peddle back home. I peddled hard, racing down the flat terrain of east side El Paso, and wished I lived farther west so I could test my skills on a bike there, then wobbled a bit as I hit a rock. Maybe I should I test the skills when I have a bit more. As I pulled into the driveway, my skin moist in the desert night air, I looked down at my bike, and thought, If only everything was like riding a bike.