Flying Without Wings

June 19, 2011

I can still remember, vividly, the day that my father taught me to ride a bicycle. We lived at the end of a quiet suburban street lined with cherry and dogwood trees, our house set back from the cul-de-sac by what seemed to me, at age 5, to be a very long and very wide drive, perfect for small bicycles, and my dad and I spent hours there together as I circled that drive, round and round and round, on my little bike with the big training wheels. On the day that the wheels came off, we left the security of that smooth-paved drive and went out onto the street.

Dad kept his hand on my back as I pedaled down the street, and he kept it there as I pedaled back up the street, and he kept there as I pedaled down again and up again and with every pass the pressure of his hand became lighter and lighter and lighter until suddenly I couldn’t feel it there anymore, and I was flying, all on my own, and I remember that moment, I remember it keenly, that moment of sudden, terrifying, exhilarating realization that I was on my own, that I was doing it on my own, that I could do it all on my own, and I turned my head to see where he was, and he was there, of course, just some distance back, smiling as wide as I would ever see him smile, thrilled, proud, because this was something we’d done together, this thing, this getting me to be able to do this all on my own, and he was prouder of me than I was of myself, and the cherry trees and the dogwood trees flashed by me as I sped along, not looking where I was going, and it was wonderful, wonderful. And then I crashed into the bushes on someone’s lawn, and I cried. Keep reading…

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