Behind the Bike

Do you think parents are destined to help their children?  Is there a definite bond between a parent and their child?  In my personal narrative, I explored the idea of home with an experience of my younger self.  From the first sight of seeing my first bike to eventually learning to bike, this narrative not only engenders a feeling of family to my younger self, but also can relate to the reader’s childhood.

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Behind the Bike

Okay, so this is the story I’m going to tell.  It wasn’t complicated, just a some stuff about me, my dad, and the whole thing about biking.  Almost ten years ago, we moved to downtown.  With all the groups of buildings, sounds of traffics, crowds of people in the massive city, our family found an ideal place to move on.  It was of course not big, only a few extra spaces left for storing.

Anyway, one day, my dad came home with a bike, not just a normal bike, but a brand new one.  It was not too tall and not too short, just the perfect height but still enormous comparing to me.  If you got something new, what would you do?  For me, for my curiosity, of course I would want to know more, so yeah, I trotted right over there, as you would expect, to get a better view.  Peering through the details, the sky blue color seemed just right with a girl who just decided to change her favorite color.  I have to admit, I liked the color blue, even now.  I ran my small fingers down the large lever, all the way to the huge head of the bulky bike, the smooth and even material of aluminum alloy calmed my excited heart down a little, but still dragging me over.  Excluding the color blue, there’re also some orange cartoons near the back wheel, pulling me nearer to the bike.  The dancing cartoons appeared simple but exquisite, fitting my interest immediately.  So the first moment I saw that bike, I recognized “my style”.

To cut the long story short, I’ll stop being wordy, so here the story goes.  I started learning right at the next morning.  I chose a blue shirt, trying to match the bike’s color.  Before leaving home, I found my cherished helmet and put it on my head towards a mirror.  In retrospect, the girl in the mirror was thrilled.  Literally, thrilled.  Her cheeks were glowing red, her jet-black hair were tied up in a pony tail neatly by her mom, and most importantly, her eyes were kindling on fire.  Surprisingly, the black straps of the helmet were untangled with the just-right length.  Clip!  The two side of the buckles joined, my petite hands joined the bike’s pitch-black handle.

With my dad’s companion, we reached the road to start.  It was this road in the compound, a white paved road that had accompanied me throughout the next few years.  On top of the ruler-straight road, street lamps lined up beside the massy erect apartment buildings, creating a faultless practice track for a little kid learning to bike.  I stopped there, kept still, waiting, but he continued walking.  I scampered up to him, hobbling along with the bike.

“Gam ma bu deng wo?*1” I wondered.

“You shi zhe fu mo yang.  Gai kai shi le, shang qu ba!*2” He instructed.

Although that look only flashed through my face, but he still caught it.  It was a strange and puzzled look I didn’t know how it started but it just appeared.  Anyway, so then, I steadied myself at the left side of the bike and gradually transformed my weight on it…

The bike’s trembling.

“Kuai lai bang wo!*3” I shouted, I certainly didn’t sound like a childish kid.

All my nerves are on, the feeling of anxiety flowed through my whole body, causing an awful shiver.  My mind was blank, the ghostly-pale road making it even worse.  White, white, every where’s white.  Without noticing myself, my right foot’s already on the paddle, the familiar figure of him suddenly entered my blank eye sight at the back of the bike.  “Zhao hao ping heng ran hou ba ling yi zhi jiao fang shang qu, wo hui bang ni na wen che.*4”  As the strong and patient voice streamed through my ear, it pushed the hanging rock in my heart down.  Comfort, right, there was comfort.

Using this slight comfort, I tried steadying the bike as best as I could, and pushed it forward using my shaky left leg.  One rotation, two, three…  I can still remember clearly, the only thing I was thinking on the bike was counting how many rotations the paddles had gotten through.  Yet, the more I was counting, the slower I was.  I felt a powerful gust of wind blowing directly towards me, towards the tiny girl on the big bike.  The head of the bike started to swing uncontrollably, the body of the bike following the head unmanageably, the tail of the bike trying to chase the body but failing; all the parts in an unruly mess.  I wasn’t trying to be embarrassing, but still…  Soon, the kid on the bike almost lost all her confidence, the inevitable event finally happened, the bike went to a massive shake that almost threw me out and abruptly stopped.  I turned back realizing he’s still holding on, the small beads of sweat on his face were joining together, forming a larger bead, dripping from his forehead to his chin.  The perspiration stayed on his chin for a while and then fell, landing on the ground with a small mist.

“Mei shi, zai lai yi ci, zhe ci ken ding xing!*5” The words suddenly awoke me from my attention on him, I turned the bike towards the road and calmed myself down.  Well, maybe just trying to calm myself down cause I didn’t know how.   My right foot on top, then with a push from my left foot, the bike galloped straightly towards the endless road.  Now then, the second time on the bike was much easier, I felt myself much lighter.  “Lighter” in a sense of being more comfortable with adapting the bike.  Left, right, left, right…  The bike’s moving faster and faster each time.  I biked around and around the shining and glistening angel-white road, didn’t care of the time,  didn’t care of anything.  The feeling was neither excitement nor comfort, but a rather refreshing sense of awakening from something deep inside my body.  The bike seemed steady as if the two protection wheels were still on.  I thought myself as someone riding a flying horse above a fantasy world, at least a good imagination for a five-year-old right?  Anyway, in my eyes, I felt like everything around me was dark, the only thing I could see was a strand of light coming from somewhere high above, shining the road displayed in from of me, like a stage or something.  The road’s brightness dazzling, but my unyielding mind still hold my eye lids wide open.  I couldn’t feel anything below my neck.  Repeat.  Repeat again.  My machine-like legs kept pushing the paddles every time the paddle’s on top, no end.

Tic, tok.  Tic, tok.

Until then, when I was beginning to feel the soreness in my legs, my eyes abruptly caught someone.  I saw him.  His back was hunched, his face in pain but still forcing himself a smile at me.   Around his feet, the tar paved white road was stained with his sweat, everything except him seemed blurred, maybe it’s because of the sweat on my face were dripping through my eyes, I didn’t know.  “Cheng gong le!*6” He gasped, trying to catch his breath.  I dropped the bike and ran to him, you might think I will hug him or something, but I didn’t.  “Ni mei zhua zhe wo?*7” the words went out of my throat involuntary.  He nodded his head, a few more drops of sweat fell from his chin.

Since then, every time I think of this moment, I always thought why didn’t I do anything like just a hug or something.  Something need to be done, something need to be done promptly, or maybe not, I didn’t know, and I still don’t know now.  Thinking on the other hand, maybe that’s just what parents are destined to do, maybe it’s something what all the sons and daughters need to learn at, or, maybe because I thought I was mature enough that I didn’t need to do it.  Something need to mention is that, at that time, I was struggling to adapt the new environment in the new house.  To say it more specifically, I didn’t really know how to view this house as something called “home”.  But this idea never lasted longer after this bike entered my life.  The experience seemed not only helped me learn something physically, but also developed an invisible bond between him and I.  With all these thoughts, the only thing I can conclude is that, there’s nothing that can stop a parent to devote all their strengths for their child.  There’s only one word for doing this: something called “home” for me, or maybe “family” for others.

Just a few years ago, my dad started going to all these long business trips where he needs to fly to places on the other end of the earth, yeah, literally the opposite side.  We rarely have time to even contact each other due to time zone and other factors; however, he would always remind me of a men who doesn’t talk much but cares much more for his little girl, maybe not a little girl anymore.  But I know, in his heart, I am.

I could almost see the days of yore at my old house immerse in the obscurity memories in my mind, where the white road always lays quietly out there; meanwhile, the bike stands on top of it, creating a perfect image.

 

  • *1: Why don’t you wait for me?
  • *2: It’s this confusing look again.  Time for you to start, hop on!
  • *3: Come help me!
  • *4: Find the balance and put the other foot on the paddle, I’ll help you to hold the bike.
  • *5: Come on, let’s try it again, I’m sure you’ll succeed this time!
  • *6: You made it!
  • *7: You didn’t hold me?
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