I got a bike for my twelfth birthday.
I’ve always fucking loved birthdays, and while I understand others’ reasons for disliking them, I have never EVER EVER been one of those people. Any occasion to celebrate is a great goddamn day in my book.
Anyway, the day I turned twelve, I got off the schoolbus and a bike was waiting for me on the sidewalk in front of our house.
I rode up and down the street until I was reminded that, um hello? It’s your birthday, and there’s cake and ice cream waiting inside.
Did I mention this was the best day ever?
One day, almost 13 years later, I got off the city bus and came home to find my bike – that very same bike, still trusty after all those years! – had been destroyed.
It had been raining, so I’d taken the bus to work. As I walked back to my apartment from the stop, I noticed that it looked like my bike had fallen over in the bike rack. Eh, it happens. I was usually better at locking it up than that, but I could have been in a hurry. So I detoured, and went over to right it.
As I approached, I gasped.
The tires had been slashed. The front wheel was completely bent, spokes busted, just fucking mangled. Parts of the frame itself were dented. The handlebars were bent and twisted. It seriously looked like someone had beaten it with a crowbar. It was still locked to the rack, so I assumed someone had tried to steal it.
Until I saw the seat.
It, too, had been slashed. It was covered with multiple thin cuts, like from a razor blade.
A random and senseless act of vandalism against a bike that was, for all intents and purposes, a piece of shit. But a well-loved piece of shit. A piece of shit I relied on to transport me to and from work and school and every-damn-where-else.
At the time, I’d been having a rough go at it and had found myself in low place, mentally. And this bike thing was just the icing on an entirely different type of cake. Though I certainly wouldn’t call that day the worst ever, I couldn’t help but think back to my birthday a dozen-plus years prior and reflect on how my current reality was essentially the polar opposite of that day years ago. It was a reminder of how things change. Even the things that had been constant for years and years.
Like a hot pink-and-purple 10 speed.
Sigh. I still miss you, bike.
I would have thrown you one hell of a quinceanera.