thought and memory

She is five years old and she does not believe that she is riding the bicycle on her own. Her father is telling her that he let go, that she rode on her own, and she will not believe that he lied, does not believe in her own capabilities.

This was seventeen years ago. She is remembering it now and she does not know why. Like most memories, it came unbidden, and there is a moment where it is all she thinks of, ignoring her best friend, who has been her friend long enough that it is hard to keep track of how long, exactly.

And then her best friend is saying her name, and, "Hello?"

And she smiles and says, "Sorry, I was miles away." She does not know what happened to that bicycle. She rides her bike every day now, to work and to the store. She likes the freedom that it gives her, the mobility. It makes the city smaller. "Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? Without training wheels, I mean?"

For her it is a country road, and she is crying because she believes her father is tricking her. She does not recall what happened after, except that she is certain she did not try again that day.

"Not really. Why?"

"Just remembering, I guess. Don't know where it came from."

"What was yours?"

"I was five thought everyone in the world was playing a cruel trick on me." She smiles. "What a strange thing to worry about."

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