self discovery/reclamation/admission #1 :
The first time he came into the bank, he rolled into lane three, with sunglasses and no helmet. He wore faded blue jeans that hung just too low and a white undershirt that clung to his arms, hiding the half sleeve on his right bicep that curled around with few gaps left to be filled in. He looked up at me when I greeted him with a mischievous grin that is common to such young men and sent in the tube, asking for a deposit slip. “Oh my gaaawww,” I said to my manager and fellow teller. “This punk kid is ridiculous! Look at him, thinking he’s too cool to wear a helmet. What a fricking idiot!” And then, over the microphone, “alright, my name’s Sara, and I’m glad to help when you’re ready!” as though I hadn’t been trashing him while the deposit slip flew through the pipes and out to the windy drive through. Of course, being in the drive up is a privilege not often recognized by many at the bank. While motorcycle boy filled out the spaces of that deposit slip and scribbled his signature on the back of his check, I had the convenience of a wide window and well angled sunlight with which to make a cursory examination of the lone customer–all while pretending to be busy at my computer.
So a couple months later, when that boy had gone from “Mr. P____ro” to “Nicholas” to “Nick,” and we were almost friends, I was sort of okay with the fact that he stubbornly refused to wear a helmet. He came in a truck sometimes too, white but stained with mud splayed up the sides, and he always had those sunglasses on. Jessi would always let me do his transactions, sort of an unspoken agreement, and Amanda always tried to have me write my number on the back of receipt. And then one day, he pulled into our furthest lane and asked for a balance on his account. It’s not so unusual, people often want to know balances before withdrawing money. But this kid, he didn’t want another transaction. I sent that tube back out to him, asked if htere was anything else I could do for him and I was startled with his response. “Um, actually, you wanna go out some time?” *
The second date was lunch at a nearby park. He brought his bike and a backpack full of supplies for a sweet picnic in my hour away from the branch. I tugged that extra helmet on as he apologized for being late–said he’d done “a buck twenty” on the highway in his rush to get to me. Because that makes a girl feel confident when she’s climbing on the back of your bike. But I did it anyway. My face was squished up in the helmet and I was nervous, but I climbed on, wrapped my hands around his tightly woven chest and held on as we sped down the road.
I love motor bikes. I don’t ever want to drive one. I just want to be on the back of one. I love the feeling of the wind on my skin, the world streaking by as though I’m breaking the sound barrier and everything has gone to blurs of brown and green across the open prairie of Colorado. I can feel the force against my body as he clicks into the next gear and I know I have to hold on tight or risk being thrown back into the traffic behind me. But it’s so freeing. To sit behind him, to be holding tight to him in his brown shirt and scooting closer with each shifting gear as the speed dial climbs. It feels free to be out–to move at such speed but without the confinement of four doors and a bumper. Leaning as we take hard curves and thinking that I could scrape the rough paved road with my fingertips if only I had the courage (or stupidty) to let go.
I love sitting at a stoplight and having people stare. I love being that awesome. It’s so ridiculous, but it’s so true. I love being able to drop the low wave to other bikers as though we’re apart of some community that the outside world doesn’t know and can’t ever belong to. I love smacking my helmet head into Nick’s and then laughing because we can’t hear a word that the other is saying, but we’re having a good time watching the sunset, dodging cars and weaving through traffic like a snake slithering across the desert and leaving no trail.
I love the way it takes my breath away, the way it calms my soul, the way it speeds up my heart rate and makes my hands sweat.
I love speed. But more than just speed, I love the freedom of the bike. I love the way I feel like I’m apart of the world that I’m riding through.
But to fall for a boy on a bike? Well, that was perhaps, not the wisest of choices my heart has ever made. I should have known, that it would be like the speed of that bike ride: fast, furious and over sooner than I should have liked and disappointing the moment the high is gone.
And yet, my heart still jumps when a white truck pulls into the drive up and my gaze perks up when I watch bikes race down I25 as though they havne’t a care in the world and the police will never catch them. So, despite what some may call a mistake, I would have to say that I’m almost happy (though now sad and disappointed) that I dated a boy with a bike. Because it led me to the reclamation of self discovery #1.
I have a thing for speed and crotch rockets.
*this is, of course, the abbreviated version. the real one is a bit longer, a bit more awkward and quite a bit funnier.