The protagonist of The Memory of
It is after the funeral(s) and after the wake when he walks into his parent's garage and sees his bicycle. This begins a trip that continues until he has bicycled across the country, from Massachusetts to California where he arrives in different shape (literally and figuratively) from the shape he left in.
Above the small window in the back, hanging over Pop's long workbench, was my Raleigh. My Raleigh. I never saw it there.
I was drunk, but that was my Raleigh. I stood on Mom's blue hood and pulled it away from the hooks.
We both crashed onto the roof of the car, me and my Raleigh. The bike pitched again, over me and out the garage door. I lay in the dent of the car roof for a few minutes, then rolled off and walked to the bike.
My Raleigh. My maroon three-speed. I set it on its wheels and popped the kickstand. It still had the light on the front, but there were no batteries inside. It still had my small leather pack hooked onto the back of the seat. I unzipped it.
"The zipper works good," I said out loud.
I threw a leg over, and the bar sat way below my crotch. Had I grown that much? I sat on the seat, keeping balance with my left leg. It was a tight fit, like the blue suit I had on, when I sat down I couldn't keep it buttoned. The tires had no air, so they groaned under the beer and pickled eggs, and the tire rims crunched on the pavement. I lit a cigarette and sat on my bike.
I sat smoking until the cigarette was gone. Then I put up the kickstand with my heel and walked with the bike between my legs, to the end of the driveway. It must have been around eight, because I remember a full moon.
Now I don't understand this, except I knew there was a Sunoco station at the bottom of our street, and it probably had an air pump, but, as I said, this is a gray area because all of a sudden I gave the Raleigh a few steps, sat ridiculously on the seat, and began to coast on the flat tire rims of my bike, down our little hill.
So here it is 2012 and I guess what I am saying is, do you have a memory of bicycling? Isn't it maybe time you went out to the garage and got down your bicycle and remembered who you are or who you were meant to become?